UFC 294 results: Khamzat Chimaev’s grappling attack earns majority nod over Kamaru Usman

Khamzat Chimaev was simply too much for former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman to handle on short notice.

After losing his original opponent Paulo Costa due to a staph infection, Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) ended up sharing the octagon with Usman (20-4 MMA, 15-3 UFC), who stepped up on just 10 days’ notice to create a new UFC 294 co-main event at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

Usman competed at middleweight for the first time in his UFC career, but Chimaev’s grappling kept his undefeated record intact with a majority decision win. Official cageside judges submitted scores of 29-27, 29-27 and 28-28.

Chimaev didn’t play around with Usman on the feet for long. After an initial exchange, “Borz” shot in for a takedown, putting Usman’s grappling in a higher weight class to the test. A few seconds later, Chimaev was locked in on Usman’s back, landing punches while looking for openings for a submission.

Usman remained calm, but he spent the entire round fending off submission attempts and defending punches from Chimaev. Usman survived until the horn, but Round 1 was a dominant grappling display from Chimaev.


After a one-sided first round, Chimaev surprisingly opted to slow things down and see how the fight would unfold on the feet. The pace was light for a majority of the round, but Usman began opening up late in the round. That is, before Chimaev decided it was time to shoot in for a well-timed takedown to end the round on the mat.

Chimaev shot for an early takedown to start the final round, but it wasn’t there. Usman, needing to change the course of the fight, began looking to land powerful strikes. The former 170-pound champ turned up the volume with punching combinations and forward pressure. However, Chimaev stopped his momentum with a takedown midway through the round. Usman worked back up to his feet with less than a minute to go, but couldn’t land a fight-ending blow as they unloaded strikes before the horn.

In his first fight of 2023, Chimaev picks up a win over a former champion in his second bout that saw a late opponent change. In his last outing at UFC 279, Chimaev was originally set to face Nate Diaz, but issues on the scale caused a seismic shift in matchups. He ended up facing Kevin Holland, who he submitted midway through Round 1.

Usman has now lost three straight fights. “The Nigerian Nightmare” lost back-to-back title fights against Leon Edwards, and couldn’t get back on track at middleweight against Chimaev.

Up-to-the-minute UFC 294 results include:

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