Gilbert Burns has made his prediction for Saturday’s co-headliner – Kamaru Usman vs. Khamzat Chimaev At UFC 294.
While there’s plenty of attention this week on the upcoming championship rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski, Saturday’s UFC 294 co-main event doesn’t fall too far short in terms of intrigue.
Joining Volkanovski as a late-notice call-up for the Abu Dhabi-held event on October 21 is Kamaru Usman, a former welterweight champion who will begin his pursuit of two-division glory.
To secure a first shot at ‘champ-champ’ status, “The Nigerian Nightmare” must first get past Khamzat Chimaev, an undefeated phenom who has won six outings inside the Octagon since his debut back in 2020.
While “Borz” has risen the ranks at 170 pounds previously, he’ll now return to middleweight in an attempt to achieve the first part of his multi-weight ambitions.
But although one man familiar with both men is giving the “edge” to the Chechen-born UAE representative, he won’t count Kamaru Usman out.
Gilbert Burns Favors Khamzat Chimaev, But Warns Not To Underestimate Kamaru Usman
During a recent appearance on ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, welterweight contender Gilbert Burns gave his take on the UFC 294 co-headliner, which will see two of his former opponents collide.
Just over a year on from a failed title bid against Usman at UFC 258, “Durinho” shared the cage with Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 273. There, the Brazilian marked the toughest test to date for “Borz,” and even did enough to deserve the victory in the eyes of some.
Having felt both men’s talents firsthand, Burns is uniquely placed to offer his insight into their late-notice matchup. And while he narrowly leaned in the direction of Chimaev, he insisted that the chances of his fellow Kill Cliff FC standout can’t be dismissed.
“Kamaru’s big for 170… You know the best thing about short notice? If you train, if you’re in shape, because your opponent is getting ready for a guy that is a totally different game from you, now he’s gonna face you, who he wasn’t getting ready for,” Burns said. “If you’re training, I love short notice… This guy was getting ready for Paulo Costa, now he’s fighting Kamaru Usman.
“I think Khamzat is the hungriest guy right now. He gonna come, he wanna make a name, he wanna be a champion,” Burns continued. “But bro, don’t count Kamaru out. Kamaru can fight too, bro… He don’t need to do a weight cut and this guy has fought so many five rounds… This guy has three rounds in the bag all day… Man, that’s a close fight… I think Khamzat is gonna be the faster guy, fast starting, trying to grapple… I give a little bit more edge to Khamzat, just because he was getting ready to face a monster in Paulo Costa.”
Like many, Gilbert Burns is struggling to pick a winner when Khamzat Chimaev and Kamaru Usman throw down in a bout that was frequently teased prior to confirmation of the former’s planned showdown with Paulo Costa.
With the Brazilian out through injury, “Borz” and “The Nigerian Nightmare” will instead have their much-discussed fight. And despite some firm favorite odds for the UAE resident, the former champ is used to overcoming underdog status having done so to win gold back in 2019 against Tyron Woodley.