Apr 8, 2022; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Khamzat Chimaev on the scale during weigh ins for UFC 273 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

Chimaev’s Unexpected Setback! Title Fight with Strickland at Risk?

Undefeated UFC contender Khamzat Chimaev faces a potential pause in his ascent to the top. Will Strickland have to wait?

“Chimaev Suffers Hand Injury, Title Shot with Strickland in Jeopardy”

Khamzat Chimaev faced an unexpected challenge on his path to the UFC middleweight title. Following his unanimous decision victory over Kamaru Usman at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, the undefeated contender believed he broke his right hand. However, ESPN’s recent report states that Chimaev suffered a torn ligament.

This injury casts doubt on his upcoming match with reigning champion Sean Strickland, who defeated Israel Adesanya in a significant upset at UFC 293. Despite Strickland’s initial reservations about Chimaev’s worthiness as a challenger, the focus has shifted to Chimaev’s health.

The match with Usman marked Chimaev’s first middleweight bout in over three years. After this victory, two of his fights were at welterweight, with the third at a 180-pound catchweight. Chimaev, with an undefeated record (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC), is poised to challenge Strickland, assuming his recovery goes as planned.

Chimaev’s manager confirmed the ligament injury to ESPN, mentioning that he’ll wear a hand brace for the next four weeks before reevaluating. Surgery seems unlikely at this point, but that could change based on the injury’s assessment after the brace’s removal.

Strickland’s comments post-Chimaev’s win over Usman were clear; he didn’t think Chimaev had earned the title shot.

“All I like about Chimaev is that he sells fights,” Strickland stated.

Regardless of opinions, the potential title bout might be on hold due to Chimaev’s injury.

Dricus Du Plessis, who TKO’d former UFC champion Robert Whittaker last July, could be next in line if Chimaev’s recovery takes longer than expected.

The UFC has yet to make official statements regarding Chimaev’s injury and any subsequent changes to the fight card.

“This setback is a bump in the road. We are looking forward to the future and the potential title bout,” stated Chimaev’s coach, emphasizing their commitment to recovery and the championship journey ahead.

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