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Morning Report: Gilbert Burns hopes for a double knockout in ‘50-50’ Paulo Costa vs. Khamzat Chimaev fight

UFC 273: Burns v Chimaev Photo by Cooper Neill/Zuffa LLC

Gilbert Burns has mixed feelings about the big upcoming middleweight contender matchup at UFC 294.

Khamzat Chimaev will make his return to 185 pounds next month in Abu Dhabi. Welcoming “Borz” back to the octagon for the first time in over a year will be none other than Brazilian powerhouse Paulo Costa. A win for either can line them up for a potential title shot against new champion Sean Strickland.

Burns is familiar with Chimaev, taking on the undefeated superstar in April 2022. While he tested the Sweden resident more than any other fighter as of yet, Burns still came up short in a unanimous decision loss in one of the year’s best battles. Chimaev nor Costa have Burns’ support in their upcoming clash. Despite his feelings for each man, “Durinho” doesn’t see the fight being as one-sided as the oddsmakers indicate with Chimaev as a -400 favorite to Costa’s +290 moneyline in some books, according to BestFightOdds.

“Costa — like everybody’s saying — is huge,” Burns told MiddleEasy. “He’s a big guy but I don’t think he has the heart that I have. I don’t think he has the jiu-jitsu that I have. He doesn’t have the get-ups that I have. He doesn’t have the submission threat that I have that kind of made Khamzat not want to grapple. I think he’s very strong and a big guy but I think he’s gonna gas.

“I don’t like both of these guys. Double knockout would be the best result but I don’t know. It’s a 50-50 fight. If Khamzat is able to take him down, I think it will be a harder night for Costa but in the other way too, if Costa is able to defend the takedown, it will be a hard night for Khamzat so I think we’re gonna see the winner with how the first round goes.”

Burns (22-6) has fought three times since his instant classic with Chimaev, going 2-1. The one-time welterweight title challenger got off to a hot start in 2023, submitting Neil Magny with first-round arm-triangle choke before retiring Jorge Masvidal.

Unfortunately for Burns, his streak was snapped when he took a short-notice five-round co-main event opposite Belal Muhammad at UFC 288 in May. The Brazilian contender lost the fight via a unanimous decision and suffered a bad shoulder injury in the process. Burns has recently gotten back to training and targets a return early next year.

“I hope one, if not, two opponents to get a title shot,” Burns said. “I’m not gonna be gambling again trying to get the toughest fight. I fought everybody but I want to fight the guys ahead of me and we’ll see.

“I fought three times this year. No one in the top 10 fought since, you know? I gotta see these guys fighting, we want to see who I’m fighting next but that’s all I’m looking for. A big win against a top-ranked opponent and get a title shot. I believe one amazing finish will give me a title shot. If not, two.”


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The MMA Hour.

UFC Vegas 79 promos.

Free fight.

Full fight.


On To the Next One. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck and Alex K. Lee discuss if we should get Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko 3 following Noche UFC draw.





Tough one...


Staying busy.


The hunger is real.

Strickland plus weapons equals dangerous.



Sean things.




Rin wants in.

Fight week.


Archie Colgan (8-0) vs. Pieter Buist (17-7); Bellator 301, Nov. 17

Juliana Velasquez (12-2) vs. Paula Cristina (6-2); Bellator 301, Nov. 17

Keri Taylor Melendez (5-0) vs. Sabriye Sengul (3-3); Bellator 301, Nov. 17

Mick Parkin (7-0) vs. Caio Machado (8-1-1); UFC Vegas 82, Nov. 18


I really don’t see the size being as much of a factor as it’s been made out to be in the Costa vs. Chimaev matchup. Chimaev has had plenty of competitions at 185 pounds and already bested a superior middleweight grappler to Costa in Jack Hermansson.

Thanks for reading!



Who wins this weekend?

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    Rafael Fiziev and Bryce Mitchell
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