Khamzat Chimaev opens as betting favorite to defeat Sean Strickland in title fight after UFC 294 win

Khamzat Chimaev opens as betting favorite to beat Sean Strickland after UFC 294

Off the back of his close, majority decision win over former undisputed welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman in the co-main event of UFC 294 last night, Khamzat Chimaev has opened as a significant betting favorite to defeat Sean Strickland in a future title fight – after landing a win in his title-eliminator return.

Co-headlining UFC 294 in a reshuffled bout last night in Abu Dhabi, Chechen-born contender, Khamzat Chimaev turned in a close, majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28) victory over former pound-for-pound number one, Usman in his first ring walk since he featured at UFC 279 back in September of last year.

Revealing he suffered a fractured right hand likely in the opening exchanges of his first round brawl with Usman in the Middle East last night, Chimaev may face an extended period on the sidelines, claiming the injury setback forced him to utilize a striking gameplan predominantly, ahead of his usual wrestling and grappling approach.

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Khamzat Chimaev opens as betting favorite over Sean Strickland after UFC 294

And following his victory – in what UFC CEO, Dana White-billed as an official middleweight championship-eliminator prior to the flagship event, Chimaev has opened as a -340 betting favorite to beat middleweight titleholder, Strickland, with the Covina native opening as a sizeable +270 betting underdog. 

Despite the immediate fallout from last night’s action in the desert, a host of bookies and markers are already offering odds on a potential championship showcase between Strickland Chimaev, including free bet no deposit wagers, and even prop bets and outright winner wagers. 

Striking Octagon gold just last month in Sydney, Australia, Strickland turned in a spectacular upset win over former two-time championship holder, Israel Adesanya, landing a one-sided unanimous decision win over the City Kickboxing staple. 

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And initially expected to fight the Nigerian-Kiwi in an immediate title fight rematch off the back of his upset win, Strickland had reportedly been approached to fight Chimaev on just 10 days’ notice at UFC 294 prior to the booking of his fight with ex-champion, Usman, before rejecting the bout promptly due to its’ short-notice nature.

Improving to 13-0 as a professional last night in his return to the middleweight limit for the first time since a shuddering first round knockout win over Gerald Meerschaert back in 2020, Khamzat Chimaev had most recently submitted Kevin Holland with a first round D’Arce choke submission win in September of last year, in another rebooked co-main event bout. 

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Prior to that dominant victory, Chimaev had turned in a close, back-and-forth decision win over former welterweight title challenger and common-foe of the above-mentioned, Usman, Gilbert Burns in April of last year. 

And despite previous weight miss issues at the welterweight limit, Khamzat Chimaev has stood firm in his intentions to strike gold in not just one or two weight classes, but three, if afforded the opportunity, as he eyes fights with either incumbent 170 pound kingpin, Leon Edwards, or incoming UFC 296 title challenger, Colby Covington

With last night’s win over Usman, Chimaev is firmly expected to leapfrog current number one ranked middleweight contender, Dricus du Plessis and challenge for divisional gold against the previously mentioned, Strickland. 

Who wins in a future fight: Sean Strickland or Khamzat Chimaev?