Michael Bisping is picking Khamzat Chimaev to continue his incredible run inside the octagon.
In a welterweight matchup most fans have circled on their calendar, the undefeated Chimaev gets his biggest test to date at UFC 273 this Saturday when he faces one-time title challenger Gilbert Burns. The featured bout takes place during a rare six-fight pay-per-view main card at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla.
Bisping recently broke down the matchup on his YouTube channel and believes the stars have aligned for Chimaev to get his hand raised once again.
“This is a tough one, but I’m going to lean towards Khamzat,” Bisping said. “You can say that I’ve been sold the hype. What he did to Li Jingliang, it just blew my mind. That was so impressive. Jingliang ain’t no slouch, he’s a tough guy with good skills and lots of experience, and Khamzat picked him up, and he looked like he could’ve done whatever he wanted with him. We know he was talking to Dana White, talking about becoming a champion, talking about becoming a champion at 185 [also].
“There’s a reason why he’s so confident. He’s not stupid. This isn’t him being false arrogant, getting carried away with a little success. Then he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert, there’s a reason for all of this. It is going to be interesting because I do want to see the wrestling of Khamzat go up against the jiu-jitsu of Gilbert Burns. That is going to be an interesting scenario.”
Chimaev is a massive favorite heading into his fifth octagon appearance following four impressive finishes. “Borz” has not only made things look easy from an offensive perspective, but he has only absorbed one significant strike in those four victories. In his most recent appearance, the No. 10-ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings completely decimated Li Jingliang via submission in just over three minutes at UFC 267 in October.
Burns is 5-1 since moving up to the welterweight division, with the lone defeat coming in his championship opportunity against Kamaru Usman at UFC 259 in February 2021. “Durinho” hurt Usman early and looked to be seconds away from becoming champ, but Usman was able to compose himself and stop Burns with strikes in the third. The No. 4 ranked welterweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings was able to bounce back with a unanimous decision win over Stephen Thompson at UFC 264 this past July.
While Burns’ jiu-jitsu and experience could play a big factor in Bisping’s eyes, the former middleweight champion sees Chimaev stepping up to the challenge and earning himself a shot at the 170-pound world title.
“He needs to make sure his jiu-jitsu defense is on point because if it’s not, Gilbert Burns will catch him,” Bisping explained. “[Burns is] world class in all aspects of mixed martial arts, but it’s the ground, that is the dangerous one. But is Khamzat going to pick him up and throw him on the ground and just say, ‘F*** you, I don’t care, this is how I’m going to fight’?
“But my pick is Khamzat Chimaev. I think he gets it done again, I just do. I think it’s going to be unbelievable because if he does win, whoever wins between Usman and Leon Edwards, he should be next.”