The incident occurred at UFC Vegas 6 last August. The event saw Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis collide with veteran submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik in the main event, the successful return of former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman, and another highlight-reel knockout for #3-ranked lightweight contender Beneil Dariush.
While none of the above names earned a bonus for their performances, one brutal prelim KO saw a rising contender leave with $50,000 and his second victory of 2020. In the sixth fight of the night, Holland faced Joaquin Buckley, who went on to record the KO of the Year two months later. In the third round, “Trailblazer” slept “New Mansa” with a vicious right hand.
The August 8 event also came just weeks after Chimaev had secured a record-breaking double on Fight Island. After making his debut on the Kattar vs. Ige card, where he destroyed John Phillips across just over six minutes, “Borz” made his second Octagon outing just 10 days later against Rhys McKee. In another Performance of the Night-worthy performance, the Chechen-born Swede recorded back-to-back finishes. Whilst Royce Gracie boasts the official record, Chimaev’s second win in Abu Dhabi marked a new UFC record for the fastest consecutive wins in modern UFC history.
Having broken onto the scene in emphatic fashion, Chimaev traveled to the UFC’s home base of Las Vegas, where he’d make his third appearance just over a month later. In the aftermath of UFC Vegas 6, the promotion’s first card since returning from the Middle East, it was reported that a scuffle had broken out between Chimaev and Holland.
During a recent interview with ZubaTV, Chimaev explained the details of the incident. Describing Holland as a “typical American,” the 27-year-old revealed what had caused him to confront “Big Mouth” in the fighter hotel.
“Holland. He commented something under a IG post about me… He wrote something like ‘it’s all good but where’s your mask? You can infect him.’ Something like that.” Khamzat Chimaev explained. “I came up to him in the hotel and asked, ‘What did you mean by that?’ He answered, ‘I don’t really remember but what about it?’ Or something like that. I grabbed his neck and pushed him away. Then, when people were holding me, he started blah blah blah. Typical American thing. Just talking without doing anything.” (h/t BJPenn.com)
Months after Holland’s Covid-related comment, Chimaev contracted a severe case of the rampant virus. The surging prospect, who has competed at both welterweight and middleweight, was scheduled to face top-five 170-pound contender Leon Edwards. However, Chimaev tested positive for COVID-19 in late November. The bout was canceled a further two times due to the then-ranked welterweight suffering from the long-lasting effects of the illness.
After over 13 months away from the cage, and even an apparent retirement announcement while he was battling Covid, Chimaev is finally set to return this weekend at UFC 267. Returning the Abu Dhabi, where he found immense success last summer, “Borz” will face #11-ranked welterweight Li “The Leech” Jingliang.
The Chinese 33-year-old will be making the Octagon walk for the first time since his thunderous knockout of Santiago Ponzinibbio in January this year. A setback against Neil Magny in 2020 is Jingliang’s only blemish in his last five fights.
Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 267, Khamzat Chimaev or Li Jingliang?