Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev Odds, Pick, Preview: Expect Finish at UFC 267
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC. Pictured: Li Jingliang (left) and Khamzat Chimaev (right).
- Li Jingliang is a huge underdog against the returning Khamzat Chimaev.
- Chimaev is 9-0 and had three hugely impressive wins last year, but a bout with COVID-19 has kept him out of action for the past 13 months.
- Sean Zerillo breaks down the fight and how bettors can find value on it at UFC 267.
Li Jingliang vs. Khamzat Chimaev Odds
Li Jingliang, the No. 11-ranked Welterweight, is set to face rising MMA prospect Khamzat Chimaev on the main card at UFC 267.
Jingliang hasn’t fought since his first-round knockout win in January against Santiago Ponzinibbio. Chimaev comes into this bout off back-to-back first-round KO wins in 2020. Will these two provide the fireworks their resumes suggest we could see?
Below I preview how these fighters stack up and which side has betting value for this thrilling welterweight scrap. For more analysis on the rest of the card, you can check out my projections for the entire slate here.
Tale of the Tape
|Avg. Fight Time||10:54||x:x|
|Weight (pounds)||170 lbs.||170 lbs.|
|Date of birth||3/20/88||5/1/94|
|Sig Strikes Per Min||4.52||9.03|
|SS Absorbed Per Min||3.56||0.10|
|Take Down Avg||1.28||4.67|
Khamzat Chimaev — arguably the UFC’s top prospect — makes his return to the octagon on Saturday after a 13-month layoff, following a battle with COVID-19 where he prematurely announced his retirement in March. He’ll hope to enter the Welterweight rankings with a win over No. 11 ranked Li Jingliang.
On paper, this is both a step up in competition for Chimaev, but a solid stylistic matchup against Li, an above-average striker (+0.87 strike differential) with subpar takedown defense (59%) despite his sambo background.
“Borz” has impressed in his short UFC tenure, with dominant finishes on the ground against John Phillips and Rhys McKee, before scoring a vicious standing knockout against Gerald Meerschaert:
ONE PUNCH GOODNIGHT FROM CHIMAEV 😤pic.twitter.com/5aeIfCd6FP
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 20, 2020
Chimaev could compete at Middleweight but serves as a weight bully at 170, and he will be the larger man in the cage on Saturday (2-inches taller, with a 4-inch reach advantage).
Jingliang vs. Chimaev Pick
There are still a lot of questions for Chimaev to answer with regards to his striking technique and durability because he hasn’t faced true resistance to this point in his career.
Moreover, some fighters who have returned after severe cases of COVID have looked like shells of their former selves (Geoff Neal comes to mind), and Chimaev’s symptoms were severe enough that he thought he was done fighting.
Now add a bizarre and challenging weight cut for Chimaev onto the COVID situation, and you have a potential recipe for disaster, where he either gasses out quickly or looks like a shell of his former self from the jump.
That’s not enough of an angle to bet into the underdog on a whim, but it’s probably enough to keep me off of the Chimaev side of things. Otherwise, I show little value on Chimaev’s odds to win inside the distance (projected -186) or by submission (projected +252).
Instead, I prefer the fight to end inside the distance (projected -336) up to -300. Li should eventually take advantage of a compromised Chimaev. Otherwise, he’ll get a whole serving of smesh on the mat.
The Pick: Fight Ends Inside the Distance (-275)