Former UFC two-division champion Daniel Cormier believes that there is a specific reason why Khamzat Chimaev will beat Gilbert Burns on Saturday at UFC 273: He is going to be too big and strong.
One of the most highly anticipated bouts at UFC 273 on April 9 is the featured welterweight matchup between Russian Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) and Brazilian Gilbert Burns (20-4). Despite two championship fights being on the card, this is the scrap that seems to have the attention of the MMA world.
The battle of welterweight contenders pits athletes that have competed in other divisions inside the UFC. Burns is a veteran of the promotion’s lightweight class, and Chimaev has scored a couple of wins at middleweight. They will meet in the middle, but ESPN analyst and UFC broadcaster Daniel Cormier believes that the obvious size difference will be a key factor in the success the Chechen wrestler has this weekend.
Cormier says size will matter at UFC 273’s most anticipated fight
“Khamzat is big. He’s got fantastic striking with tremendous power. He’s got unbelievable wrestling, and obviously, he has good grappling. But to me, it’s the smothering top pressure of Khamzat Chimaev that causes these guys so many issues, and he’s long and he’s big,” Cormier said in a post on his YouTube channel (h/t MMAJunkie). “How does Gilbert Burns, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion and black belt, handle a heavy guy like that on top?”
“Normally, when you get this type of matchup, the wrestler will dominate the grappler because Gilbert needs to create a lot of action in order to free himself of the pressure from Khamzat Chimaev. The wrestling base usually will kill that,” he added. “… We, as wrestlers, understand smothering and stopping the movement of jiu-jitsu players.”
While the former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion does see several advantages for the 27-year-old, he does not believe he will dominate the former welterweight title challenger in the same way he has run through his previous four opponents. Nevertheless, he is still picking the rising Russian star to get a decisive win inside the Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena.
“Would I bet that he’s going to dominate him [like previous opponents]? No,” Cormier said. “I think he’s going to get challenged in ways that we have not seen him get challenged today or to this point. I think he’s going to get challenged, but do I think he’s going to win? I think the size difference will be the biggest issue for Burns to overcome in this matchup. So I will say, I think Khamzat wins the fight, but I don’t know if he wins the fight in as dominant of fashion as he has won so many.”
Khamzat Chimaev vs Gilbert Burns takes place on the main card pay-per-view portion of UFC 273. Which kicks at 10 PM ET on April 9.