Khamzat Chimaev submitted Kevin Holland at UFC 279 in Las Vegas.
The late opponent change forced by Khamzat Chimaev’s dramatic failure to make weight for his scheduled main event fight against Nate Diaz at UFC 279 did little to slow the surging title contender as he scythed through Kevin Holland with ease in Las Vegas.
Chimaev need just over two minutes to lock in the fighting-ending D’arce choke submission against American veteran Holland in a fight which took place under a veil of controversy after the Chechen-born Swede missed weight by nearly 8lbs for his proposed welterweight bout with Diaz.
Instead, a clearly angered Dana White pushed Chimaev into a fight with Holland; the man with whom he had become embroiled in a backstage fracas with which forced the cancellation of Thursday’s press conference.
But if being paired with the much larger Holland was figured to be a more robust (and late notice) challenge which could have flummoxed Chimaev, the unbeaten star proved that he is as unflappable as anyone who has set foot in the Octagon before him by dispatching his foe with almost eerie ease.
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Moments after the opening bell, Chimaev’s strategy became clear when he forced Holland to the mat and began looking to find the quickest route to victory.
Holland put up some admirable defiance early but fell further and further into quicksand as the fight developed, eventually tapping out after Chimaev tightened what proved to be the fight-ending choke.
“What now? Say something?” Chimaev declared afterwards to a soundtrack of boos.
“I’m the most dangerous guy here. I’m coming for everyone. I kill everyone. I’m going to go through everybody. Nobody can stop me. If I die, I’ll die in the cage. I never leave the cage. It’s my home.”
A lot of unnecessary drama this week, but Khamzat Chimaev is BAD MAN! Such a special talent #UFC279
— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) September 11, 2022
I really didn’t think it was gonna be that easy for Chimaev. Terrible look for Holland.
— Funky (@Benaskren) September 11, 2022
The win caps what was a strange week for Chimaev, who claimed afterwards that doctors told him to stop cutting weight ahead of the Diaz fight.
However, it is difficult to say that he hasn’t experienced some damage to his reputation after his weight miss – something which was clearly evidenced by the cacophony of jeers he received from the crowd, as well as the steely glare fixed upon him at several occasions by UFC president Dana White.
But Chimaev noted that his ability to compete at both welterweight and middleweight is an opportunity, rather than a hindrance.
“I’m going for both weight classes,” Chimaev declared. “We’ll go for both belts.”
Meanwhile, in the main event fight in which Chimaev was originally supposed to compete, Nate Diaz fought what is likely his last fight in the UFC cage and scored a satisfying submission win against fellow veteran Tony Ferguson in what was another hastily-arranged fight necessitated by Chimaev’s weight woes.
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It was a fight typical of the Californian, in which he overcame Ferguson’s early pressure to assert his own gameplan and snatch a submission after a failed takedown attempt.
Afterwards, he aimed a verbal assault at Chimaev.
“I was like this is such a b*tch ass rookie,” Diaz said. “I ain’t worried about no b*tch ass rookie. I had one fight left, I told them after not letting me have fights forever, I was like give me anybody you got. At least I got a worthy O.G. representative of mixed martial arts to do it on.”
Diaz, now free of his UFC obligations, hinted that he is set to move to ‘another sport’ where he is rumored to be a potential opponent for boxing neophyte Jake Paul.
“I want to get out of the UFC for a minute and show all these UFC fighters how to take over and own up another sport how you’re supposed to do it.
“’Cause Conor McGregor didn’t know how to do it. None of these other fighters know how to do it. So I’m going to go out there and I’m going take over another profession and become the best at that. Show everybody I’m the best at that and then I’m going to be right the f*ck back here to get a motherf*cking UFC title. The best title in the world.”