Embed from Getty Images
Given the ugly battle Khamzat Chimaev had with the coronavirus, one has to wonder if he is back to normal or if he is compromised coming into this fight. Knowing what we know, and given he almost retired, you’d have to think that Chimaev is physically and mentally in a good place to be returning to the octagon. Having a well rounded skill set, Chimaev has built a rapport of being a cardio and pace machine. When in a dominant position, Chimaev delivers non-stop ground-and-pound with the intention of ending the fight sooner rather than later. An approach Jingliang Li normally doesn’t go for, as he is far more keen on flatlining opponents on the feet. With exceptional power, Li has nine knockdowns in his last twelve fights.
As for a prediction, I’m siding with Chimaev. If there is any weakness Li has shown in the past, it’s his takedown defense. Checking in at a decent 59% takedown accuracy, Li has notably had his toughest fights come against wrestlers. In fact, before Li’s last fight against Santiago Ponzinibbio, he fought Neil Magny who shut him down with four takedowns. I don’t see anything different happening here, as Chimaev will easily get this fight to the mat and ground-and-pound his way to yet another TKO victory.