UFC 267: Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev: Prediction and Analysis

Published 10/28/2021, 6:08 AM EDT


UFC welterweights Li Jingliang and Khamzat Chimaev will face each other on the main card of UFC 267. The fight will take place on the ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

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In the build-up to the fight, both men have said some interesting words for each other, and are definitely looking to get inside the octagon.

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The number 11 ranked welterweight is coming off an impressive knockout victory in his last fight. He put Santiago Ponzinibbio to sleep in the very first round at UFC Fight Island 7 and won the ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus. The Chinese fighter is a 14 fight UFC veteran and has won four of his last five fights.

Jingliang has also shown the ability to improve his skills. He always was a specialist on the ground but has developed his striking abilities over the years as well. His last 3 wins have come by the way of T/KO.

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Khamzat Chimaev is a man who needs no introduction. ‘Borz’ entered the UFC with a bang in 2020 and quickly went on a three-fight winning streak. He won the three fights in a span of just 63 days, with the second victory coming just 10 days after the first.

In his last fight before testing positive for COVID-19 last year, Chimaev knocked his opponent out in just 17 seconds of the first round. ‘Borz’ is currently undefeated in his career and has a 9-0 record.

UFC 267: Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev

Li Jingliang is the underdog going into the fight and would love to capitalize on the opportunity to beat the rising star, i.e. Khamzat Chimaev. ‘The Leech‘ has won 8 of his last 10 fights, and will surely be Chimaev’s toughest opponent yet. He would look to use his experience inside the octagon and fight from a distance. As ‘Borz’ likes to pressure his opponents early, Jingliang would need to find a way to keep his opponent busy and then capitalize.

Khamzat Chimaev is the favorite in the fight. He is one of the biggest prospects in the UFC right now and would look to keep his momentum going against his Chinese opponent. Having won his last two fights by knockout, people often forget about his wrestling abilities.

The Swede has a big frame, and can really trouble his opponent in the clinch, and on the ground. Jingliang is definitely a step up for him, and has a lot more experience compared to ‘Borz.’ However, Chimaev can have an advantage if he takes ‘The Leech’ to the ground. Jingliang’s last defeat came against Neil Magny, also a wrestling expert, who dominated him on the ground.

Chimaev has a 73 percent striking accuracy and has landed a total of 87/120 significant strikes. 84 of those strikes have come on the ground, which Jingliang would want to avoid. ‘The Leech’ prefers to fight on his feet and 85 percent of his significant strikes have come standing up.

Hence, he knows that his takedown defense needs to be on point on Saturday. The 59% defense doesn’t make for good reading.

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Chimaev has a 3.5-inch reach advantage, which will force Jingliang to try to close the distance. However, if the Chinese fighter can use the calf kicks to his advantage, that might help him against a man who likes to chase his opponents down.

This fight is important for both men. A win for Chimaev would mean breaking into the top 15 of the welterweight rankings. That would help him try to get to the top of the division quickly. As for Jingliang, a win against one of the hottest rising stars of the sport would take his stock up. We feel his experience will tire Chimaev and allow him to get a late finish.

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Prediction: Li Jingliang to win via a third-round TKO.

Who do you think comes out on top? Let us know in the comments!

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Arunaditya Aima

250 articles

Arunaditya is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Multimedia Journalism from IIJNM, Arunaditya aspires to be an important voice in the world of MMA and interview the likes of Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and other such superstars of the sport. He has followed the sport for over a decade and is an ardent fan of Georges St-Pierre, who he believes is the greatest of all time.

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