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Khamzat Chimaev to headline UFC’s first-ever Saudi Arabia card against former champ

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Kamaru Usman Khamzat Chimaev titelchans UFC MMA Frontkick Online
Image via USA TODAY Sports

Khamzat Chimaev is set to headline UFC Riyadh, the promotion’s first-ever show in Saudi Arabia, against former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.

A couple of days ago, sources informed Frontkick that “Borz” was about to be booked for a middleweight bout in the summer. to return at middleweight in the summer. Now, UFC boss Dana White just confirmed that Chimaev will be fighting Whittaker on June 22.

Title shot on the line in Saudi Arabia as Khamzat Chimaev faces Robert Whittaker in UFC Riyadh headliner

Khamzat Chimaev is ranked at No. 11 in the UFC’s middleweight division, where Robert Whittaker sits at No. 3. According to Dana White, this bout will serve as a title-eliminator.

“Our first fight in the Kingdom will be a Fight Night that will air live and free on ABC, and the main event will be former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker versus 13-0 undefeated Khamzat Chimaev to see who will be the No. 1 contender for the UFC middleweight championship,” Dana White said.

It should be noted that Chimaev’s most recent contest against former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman was dubbed a No. 1 contender bout by White too, only for “Borz” to find himself in another title-eliminator in what will be his 8th UFC appearance.

Read more: Breaking down the young MMA career of undefeated prospect Josefin ”Thunder” Knutsson

Khamzat Chimaev is still undefeated

Khamzat Chimaev last fought at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi back in October, when he faced Kamaru Usman who stepped in on short notice as replacement for Paulo Costa. After three rounds of action, Chimaev won the fight via majority decision with 29–27, 29–27 and 28–28 on the scorecards.

The undefeated 29-year-old has fought seven times in the UFC, winning all but two fights via stoppage. He made his promotional debut back in 2020 with a second-round submission win against John Phillips at middleweight, only to return to the octagon ten days later to absolutely smash Rhys Mckee at welterweight.

After jumping up-and-down between welterweight and middleweight, Chimaev later started climbing the ranks at 170 lbs and was ranked as high as No. 3 at one point with his most notable win in that division coming against former title contender Gilbert Burns by unanimous decision following an all-out war.

However, “Borz” now looks to continue his path towards the title at middleweight, at least for the time being.

As for Robert Whittaker, the former title holder has only lost to fellow champions Israel Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis at 185 lbs. “Bobby Knuckles” has been a staple at middleweight for years with high-profile wins against fighters such as Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, Yoel Romero (twice), Jared Cannonier, Marvin Vettori and most recently Paulo Costa.

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