UFC Fight Night on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi is going down on Wednesday and we get to see a UFC newcomer make his debut as a heavy favorite. Khamzat Chimaev is taking on John Phillips in a middleweight bout in his first ever UFC event.
Chimaev is fighting out of Sweden, but he has the background of the traditional eastern European wrestlers that have come over to the UFC and dominate if they are top of the line guys. Chimaev has not lost a professional fight and he hasn’t even gone to decision.
While this could be looked upon as a negative, I think that the fact that Chimaev is a known wrestler first does give me confidence that the gas tank is there. Most of the time, strikers that win by first round KO rae the ones to worry about if they do get into deep waters.
Speaking of strikers that win by 1st round knockouts, lets talk about John Phillips, who’s only UFC win was by first round KO. Phillips wants to knock out his opponent within the first round and he has shown a questionable gas tank after that opportunity passes. I expect more of the same from Phillips in this fight.
The biggest concern for Chimaev is also somewhat comforting because he is a legit fighter with real upside long term and an undefeated record. Chimaev is a career 170 lb fighter that is fighting at 185 and actually weighed in at 186 yesterday. Maybe this was simply because he didn’t worry about cutting weight much at all, since he is naturally small for the division, but its strange that he was slightly over weight.
With all of the recent world issues, it is not uncommon to see guys come into these recent fights clearly over their typical weight. That being said, if you go watch the weigh ins, Chimaev does not appear to be in that camp at all. I don’t want to go off of just eye test there, so let’s talk about why they would even accept this fight.
This is a short notice fight on an Island against a guy that isn’t great, but possesses a punchers chance while in a very crazy time. Chimaev is someone that the UFC would like to get onto their roster regardless and his camp taking this fight shows you just how much confidence that they have that he will ragdoll Phillips.
I love Chimaev here and I will likely just ride the large number on him to be safe. Chimaev is listed at -360 on MyBookie and he is just going to win this fight unless he gets knocked out cold in the first round.
If you are looking for props, I think that it really depends on your taste. If you want an underdog with a punchers chance, the only bet I can justify is Phillips in round 1 +1000. This is much better than the price of +285 for him to win and I think they are basically the same thing. For Chimaev, he is clearly advantaged on the ground, but he also has multiple wins by KO. I think that any outcome in favor of Chimaev is viable, but my favorite prop if I had to take one is +450 for a second round finish.
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