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After bursting out of the gate with three quick stoppage wins, hot Ultimate Fighting Championship commodity Khamzat Chimaev will be coming back to the Octagon following a lengthy layoff.
According to a report from betting site Octagon.bet on Friday, and subsequently confirmed by multiple outlets, the UFC is booking Chimaev (9-0) for October against Jingliang Li (18-6). The two welterweights will collide at UFC 267, which is slated to go down on Oct. 30 at an undisclosed venue in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This will be Chimaev’s first appearance since a knockout win in September 2020, as the Russian out of Sweden contracted COVID-19.
The future was bright for 27-year-old Chimaev, who debuted in the promotion in July 2020 and went on to rattle off three speedy victories across 170 and 185 pounds in just over two months. His next test was to be top-five talent Leon Edwards at welterweight, but that fell through on three separate occasions due to COVID-19. First, Edwards came down with it at the end of 2020, and then the following month, Chimaev fell victim to it. The effects lingered long enough to eject him from a subsequent matchup with Edwards, and the organization moved on from the pairing. As a pro, “Borz” has stopped all nine of his foes inside the distance.
Li bounced back into the win column in a big way in January, wrecking the returning Santiago Ponzinibbio inside of a round with a ferocious left hand to earn a place in the rankings. The fighter out of China has amassed a record of 8-2 dating back the last five years, knocking out the likes of Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos, Zak Ottow and the aforementioned Ponzinibbio on the way up. His lone setbacks in the span came by decision against Jake Matthews and Neil Magny.
UFC 267 is expected to be held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, possibly at the Etihad Arena. The event is currently bolstered by a light heavyweight championship affair pitting Jan Blachowicz against Glover Teixeira. Another key matchup on the Oct. 30 card sees Amanda Ribas face off against Virna Jandiroba in the strawweight division.