Russian Khamzat Chimaev made a significant comeback to the middleweight division as he fought former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
The UFC 294 co-main event at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday night, saw Usman beaten for the third consecutive fight.
The Nigerian, who had lost his previous two battles to Leon Eswards, has now suffered three consecutive losses.
The judges at the cageside awarded Chimaev the victory with scores of 29–27, 29–27, and 28–28.
Paulo Costa was supposed to be Usman’s opponent, but after the Brazilian withdrew with 10 days’ notice due to an elbow injury, Usman stepped in and switched to middleweight for the last-minute matchup.
Chimaev took Usman to the floor and began working to lock up a submission, but the Nigerian showed lots of heart to survive.
In round two, the pace notably slowed down and Chimaev seemed to be gassing after spending more than a year on the sidelines after beating Kevin Holland at UFC 279 in September 2022.
However, Still, he was able to do enough to take the round from Usman.
The third round came alive as Usman started landing punches and Chimaev opted to meet fire with fire in the middle of the Octagon.
Ultimately, he thought better of getting into a war and instead took Usman back to the floor where he dominated for the final seconds of their fight.
Meanwhile, former Manchester United and AC Milan star Zlatan Ibrahimovic was among the audience for the fight.
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