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The Ultimate Fighting Championship, judging by its actions alone, views Khamzat Chimaev as a potential superstar. Time will tell whether or not such forecasts were accurate.
Chimaev will put his undefeated record on the line when he meets Roufusport’s Gerald Meerschaert in a UFC Fight Night 178 middleweight showcase on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The Sweden-based Chechen has finished all eight of his opponents inside two rounds. Former British Association of Mixed Martial Arts champion Rhys McKee became his latest victim at UFC on ESPN 14, where he succumbed to punches 3:09 into the first round of their July 25 confrontation. Chimaev had made his promotional debut just 10 days prior, as he submitted John Phillips with a second-round brabo choke at UFC on ESPN 13. His stock soared immediately.
As Chimaev prepares for his three-round pairing with the vastly more experienced Meerschaert, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He could start his own travel agency.
Chimaev has already fought in five different countries as a professional mixed martial artist: Sweden, Bahrain, India, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. That list will grow to six at UFC Fight Night 178, where he will make his first appearance on American soil.
2. Utter dominance followed his arrival in the UFC.
In his first two appearances inside the Octagon, Chimaev has thoroughly outclassed Phillips and McKee. The jarring statistical data associated with those two fights, neither of which lasted two full rounds, tells the tale. Chimaev outlanded McKee and Phillips by a cumulative 192-2 margin.
3. Cold-blooded efficiency has become a hallmark.
Operating out of the same Allstars Training Center camp that spawned Alexander Gustafsson in Stockholm, Chimaev sports five first-round finishes among his eight career victories. They include his 35-second stoppage in the Brave Combat Federation 20 main event, where he struck Sidney Wheeler into submission on Dec. 22, 2018.
4. He lives up to his billing.
Chimaev wears his nickname well, as “Borz” means “wolf” in Chechen. It can also refer to an improvised submachine gun, which made its debut in Chechnya in 1992 and aided in the country’s conflict with Russia for the better part of a decade.
5. Development was no walk in the park.
Despite his relative inexperience, Chimaev defeated three undefeated fighters during his rise through the regional scene: Marko Kisic, Ikram Aliskerov and Mzwandile Hlongwa. All three have since rebounded with victories.
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