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UFC 294: MMA Stars Weigh In On Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa 

8 months ago By Sports Desk

UFC 294 is undoubtedly one of the 2023’s most eagerly awaited pay-per-view events. Set to go down on October 21 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, UFC 294 will be headlined by an exciting lightweight title rematch between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev. 

While the main event features an undeniably exciting matchup, the co-main event also promises fireworks. Khamzat Chimaev will make his long-awaited middleweight debut against Paulo Costa in the co-main event of UFC 294. Considering their long-brewing rivalry, this classic grappler vs. striker matchup is sure to enthrall fans. 

Chimaev last fought Kevin Holland at UFC 279 in September 2022 and blitzed ‘Trailblazer’ via first-round submission. ‘Borz’ is currently undefeated in his professional career with a perfect 12-0 record. Meanwhile, Costa is coming off a unanimous decision win against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 in August 2022. Considering both contenders are returning from extended layoffs, many are unsure how ring rust will affect their performances. 

In a recent video uploaded by MMA journalist Helen Yee, several UFC stars weighed in on the Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa middleweight fight. Here’s how each one predicted the outcome of the contest:

No.3-ranked middleweight contender Jared Cannonier was uncertain about the final outcome and said:

“That’s a good fight… If I was a bad man, I’d lean more towards Costa. He’s a big guy, we haven’t seen Khamzat compete against a guy of that size, stature, and skill level as well. But, as in all other combat situations, Khamzat’s got the skills to pay the bills. It’s going to be a fun fight.” 

No.3-ranked welterweight contender Belal Muhammad claimed that wrestling would be a pivotal factor and predicted the fight to go the distance. He said:

“I think it comes down to how much the wrestling will play a factor. Khamzat, when he was taking guys down at 170 [pounds], he was going double-legged and picking them up. You’re not gonna be able to pick up Costa like a little guy… I think it’ll mostly be on the feet. I think both of these guys are gonna bang it out, kinda like the Gilbert Burns fight, for three rounds.”

No.13-ranked welterweight contender Kevin Holland claimed Paulo Costa would be Khamzat Chimaev’s toughest test to date but predicted a win for the Brazilian. He said:

“I think a lot of people forget how good Paulo Costa is. So I think that’s probably the toughest fight that Chimaev’s gonna have to date. Especially with the size… Chimaev’s a pretty big guy… I think they’ll match up and clash up pretty well, but we all know I don’t like Chimaev, so I’m gonna put my money on Paulo Costa.” 

No.5-ranked middleweight contender Sean Strickland is expecting a war between the two mercurial fighters but couldn’t pick a clear winner. He said:


“You have two fighters who haven’t really been active. I don’t know, it’s gonna be a great fight, it’s gonna be a war. I’m excited for it. I like Costa.” 

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