Khamzat Chimaev made waves on Twitter when he revealed that he had accepted a short-notice fight with newly crowned UFC middleweight champion Alex Pereira.
With Pereira fresh off his shocking fifth-round knockout of Israel Adesanya at UFC 281, it seemed highly unlikely that he would be ready to go on such short notice, making a quick turnaround to compete at UFC 282 on December 10th. Especially against an opponent as formidable as Khamzat Chimaev. However, the recent revelation that Jiri Prochazka is out of the previously scheduled UFC 282 main event led some to speculate the UFC was attempting to make a massive middleweight title fight between the two behemoths in place of the light heavyweight title rematch.
UFC fan favorite Sean O’Malley shared his thoughts on the hypothetical pairing through his YouTube channel. The No. 1 ranked bantamweight contender is confidently backing Khamzat Chimaev, believing his grappling and power would be enough to take out Alex Pereira.
“Khamzat could f**k Alex up… That left hand is nasty, but if I had to put money on Alex vs. Khamzat I’d put it on Khamzat… He can grapple big scary guys like that. I’d put money on Khamzat if they fought… His grappling is good, and he can knock motherf***ers out,” O’Malley said.
Khamzat Chimaev vs. Alex Pereira Unlikely as the UFC Promotes Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev to Main Event
Fans immediately began salivating over the potential of a surprise showdown between Khamzat Chimaev and Alex Pereira, though the bout seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, if ever. The UFC may have looked into the possibility as a knee-jerk reaction to Jiri Prochazka’s withdrawal from the event but with the event roughly two weeks out, it seems that the promotion has moved onto another plan.
Following the announcement that Prochazka had withdrawn and vacated his UFC light heavyweight championship, the promotion promoted Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev to the main event slot. The two will now compete for the vacant 205-pound title.
As for Sean O’Malley, the outspoken striker is coming off the biggest win of his career, scoring a split-decision victory over Petr Yan. The victory extended his win streak to four and improved his overall UFC record to 8-1. Now sitting at No. 1 in the bantamweight rankings, O’Malley is eyeing a fight with the returning ‘Triple C’ Henry Cejudo or a title opportunity against reigning division champion, Aljamain Sterling.