Robert Whittaker vs Khamzat Chimaev – UFC on ABC 6 in Saudi Arabia – A career overview on both men.

Khamzat Chimaev Saudi Arabia

It felt like the other day, that Khamzat Chimaev looked invincible. 

An unknown and untested young prospect, he first entered the UFC on July 20th, 2020 where he would be a late replacement against his opponent, John Phillips, and what would take place between the two, would be an absolute one-sided mauling from the man they call, “Borz.”

Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev would batter John Phillips from pillar to post, controlling the bout with his wrestling and then securing a slick D’Arce choke to close the show. He would also outland the Welshman 40 – 1 in terms of strikes landed as well

What would make the (then) 26-year-old even more impressive is that he would then go on to break the record for the quickest turnaround time between UFC wins in the modern era and would then go on to dismantle Rhys McKee via TKO in round 1, only 10 days later. 

55 days later, he would move up in weight and take on veteran Middleweight, Gerald Meerschart, where Chimaev displayed no wrestling whatsoever and demonstrated his sheer knock-out power against Gerald where he knocked him out with one punch in under 18 seconds of round number 1.

In less than 90 days, Khamzat had destroyed three UFC fighters in his path and a star was born. Since then, the star power he once displayed has unfortunately diminished in the eyes of the media and fans alike. 

A few fight cancellations, illnesses, and close bouts albeit being against elite competition in Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman have had fans doubting whether or not he still has the ability to snatch a world title.  The Chechnyan will attempt to regain some of that star power against former Middleweight champion and future hall of famer Robert Whittaker.  

Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker is no stranger to elite competition and would be Khamzat’s biggest test to date. A staple of the UFC since 2012, Whittaker didn’t quite have the smooth sailing start that Khamzat had. After his first 4 bouts in the UFC, he presented a 2-2 record. Including a brutal TKO loss to Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. 

Whittaker would take one more bout at Welterweight before moving up in weight to Middleweight and this is where everything would change. The Australian would go on an absolute tear, going on an 8-fight win streak including beating an absolute specimen in Yoel Romero in two back-to-back wars. 

The 2nd fight would end up being a fight of the year candidate. 

After the Yoel fight, he would go on to lose his title against another future legend Israel Adesanya via brutal KO. After this bout, he would then go on to beat top contenders at the time Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum before losing again in a close fight against Adesanya yet again. Since the 2nd loss to the Nigerian-born Champion, Whittaker has gone 2-1, with the lone loss being against South African Middleweight Champion Dricuss Du Plessis. 

I feel like going into this bout; both Chimaev and Whittaker have a lot to prove. Chimaev, in his last fight, dominated Kamaru Usman in the first round but typically slowed down after the relentless pace he initially put, reminiscent of his bout against Gilbert Burns, where his pacing dropped after round 2 in that bout also.  

Usman, who took the fight on very short notice, managed to be the fresher man in round 3 and was the cleaner and more disciplined striker as the fight went on, he also managed to daze Chimaev and have him hurt and on the backfoot towards the end of the fight. Khamzat has always had incredible grappling and wrestling, but the areas in which he is most weak would be the lack of variety in his striking arsenal and his cardio. 

Unfortunately for Khamzat, the areas that Khamzat is weak in are Robert Whittaker’s main strengths! Whittaker has an incredible blitz Karate Style which has tagged many opponents clean and aided him in getting the finish. He uses a variety of oblique kicks, jabs, and fast combinations, and this has carried him to victory, time and time again. On top of this, Rob also has a phenomenal gas tank. He has trained multiple times for 5 round fights and gone the distance against the elite such as Yoel Romero and Israel Adesanya. 

To add to the nightmarish task that Khamzat Chimaev has in front of him; Robert Whittaker has excellent takedown defense, boasting an 82% Takedown defense rate. It will be very difficult for Khamzat to keep shooting takedowns over and over without setting it up with a more varied striking arsenal than he has shown previously. 

 My final pick for this bout would be Rob Whittaker, winning by close/split decision. I feel like the variety of striking, the pace, and the takedown defense that Rob possesses would be the difference going into this bout. Who knows what could happen though? MMA is an unpredictable game for sure. The real question is, does either man have the potential to become the next Middleweight champion of the world?

About the author

Ashley Terence
+ posts

Latest Articles