Gilbert Burns thinks Paulo Costa needs to address one specific aspect of his skillset to defeat Khamzat Chimaev at UFC 294.
Chimaev and Costa will square off in a middleweight co-main event at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi next month. Chimaev will make his long-awaited middleweight debut, while Costa is hoping to earn another UFC title shot against the division’s new titleholder.
After missing weight at UFC 279 last year, Chimaev has opted to move up to middleweight for a fresh start to his UFC career. He’s one of the most talented fighters in the UFC today and will look to continue his ascent in a new weight class.
Burns, who fought Chimaev in an instant classic at UFC 273, is familiar with the dangers that Chimaev presents in the Octagon. He thinks that for Costa to have a chance in the upcoming fight, he needs to make sure he’s prepared for Chimaev’s ferocious wrestling attack.
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Gilbert Burns Previews Khamzat Chimaev vs. Paulo Costa
During a recent interview with MiddleEasy, Burns explained what disadvantages Costa will have in his matchup with Chimaev.
“Costa’s a big guy, but he doesn’t have the heart that I have,” Burns said. “He doesn’t have Jiu-Jitsu, get-ups, submission threat that makes Khamzat not want to grapple. He’s a strong, big guy if I had to guess…but it’s a 50/50 fight. If Khamzat is able to take him down, it’s gonna be a hard night for Costa.”
Costa enters UFC 294 riding some momentum after a win against Luke Rockhold at UFC 278 last year. He re-signed with the UFC after a brief contract dispute, and after his scheduled fight with Ikram Aliskerov at UFC 291 fell through.
Chimaev hasn’t fought since defeating Kevin Holland at UFC 279. He was originally supposed to face Nate Diaz before his pre-fight weight miss.
Costa will likely need to defend at least one takedown attempt from Chimaev during their fight, or else it could be a quick night in the Octagon in Abu Dhabi.
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