Khamzat Chimaev completely dominated Kamaru Usman on the mat in their short-notice co-main event tonight at UFC 294, but Usman was able to stay more competitive on the feet in the rounds that followed, resulting in Chimaev having to settle for a majority decision victory.
Push kick from Chimaev. Missed leg kick from Usman. Body kick for Chimaev. Chimaev drives into an early takedown. He’s going for a single as Usman defends, then trips him to get him down. Usman immediately back up. Chimaev still latched on though from his back and looking to break his base.
Usman does eventually go to his knees and Chimaev takes his back and lands punches. Usman not doing too much to protect himself here. Chimaev stops the offense for now and focuses on maintaining his position on the back.
Chimaev thinking about a choke but doesn’t commit to it. Usman standing now and Chimaev stays latched on his back. Chimaev going for the rear-naked choke and sinks it in. Usman has to slam to the mat to break out of that. Chimaev still has the body triangle thhough and is continuing to make Usman’s life very difficult.
Usman able to stand, but then straight back to his knees thanks to Chimaev’s dominant control from his back. Usman does make it to the end of the round without any further incident though.
Both fighters starting off patiently on the feet to start the second round, with neither looking eager to commit to a strike. Almost a minute ticks by before Usman lands a leg kick.
Usman fakes a takedown attempt and Chimaev looking to strike afterwards. Kick for Usman. Body kick from Chimaev.
Front kick to the body from Usman. Push kick to the thigh from Chimaev. Not too much action through the first half of this round.
Inside low kick from Usman. He fakes a takedown attempt again. Body kick for Chimaev. Inside low kick for Chimaev. Body punch from Usman. Now one lands for Chimaev.
Chimaev punches to the body again. He tries a head kick upstairs, but it’s blocked. Usman faking a takedown. Now a punch over the top lands for him.
Jab for Usman. Chimaev shoots in for a takedown and lands it. Chimaev in side control with Usman clinging onto him to stifle any potential offense. Final 10 seconds and Chimaev is looking to improve his position, but there’s not enough time left.
Leg kick for Chimaev. He drives into a takedown, but Usman backs up out of range nicely from that one.
Usman reaching with the jab but not quite finding his range. Missed punch from Chimaev and Usman is able to land a couple of his own in return. Chimaev attempts a takedown without success. Strike lands for Chimaev and knocks Usman off-balance.
He rights himmself and they go back to it. Usman starting to land some good punches now. He works to the body and head and Chimaev not doing much in return. Good work from the former welterweight champ.
Usman turns the heat back down though and Chimaev lands a leg kick. Now a takedown from Chimaev and he lands it. Chimaev in half-guard with the best part of half a round still to go.
Chimaev happy to maintain control here as the clock runs down. Usman unable to get back up and lands light punches from his back. Body punch from Chimaev. Usman finds a little space and manages to scramble up to his feet nicely.
One-two from Usman comes off the guard. Usman continues to press forward. They both start to swing toe-to-toe. The best punches land from Usman but before he can capitalize on that the fight comes to an end. Shame this wasn’t a five-rounder.
Chimaev’s dominant first round on the mat was a huge factor in this fight, and though Usman was able to give a much better account of himself in the striking exchanges in the rounds that followed, it wasn’t enough to turn things around.
However, it’s not quite the decisive victory Chimaev would have been hoping for as due to one judge seeing it as a draw he gets the win via majority decision (29-27 x2, 28-28).