Red-hot Khmazat Chimaev will face his biggest test yet against Leon Edwards
Khamzat Chimaev knocks out Gerald Meerschaert in just 17 seconds
Veteran Leon Edwards (18-3-0) is expected to take on the newcomer Khamzat Chimaev (9-0-0) in the main event on December 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The announcement came from Dana White on the Jim Rowe show just a day after Edwards had been removed from his number three position in the welterweight rankings due to his extended absence from fighting.
Edwards’ last fight was in July of 2019 where he defeated former Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos via unanimous decision. Edwards was supposed to fight back in March against another former champion, Tyron Woodley, but the event fell through due to COVID-19. He had difficulty finding another match until now.
During Edwards’ time away from the octagon Chimaev has exploded out of the gate in a relatively short time since his UFC welterweight debut back in July. In that first fight, Chimaev defeated John Phillips (22-11-0) via submission in the second round and earned Performance of the Night honors.
Chimaev would then go on to defeat Rhys McKee, who was making his own professional debut, via TKO just ten days later and earned his second Performance of the Night honors. In just his third ever UFC fight, Chimaev completed the hat trick, knocking Gerald Meerschaert (31-14-0) out an impressive 17 seconds into the first round and earned his third Performance of the Night award in as many fights. Chimaev set a UFC record for the fastest three-fight winning streak with three consecutive wins in just 66 days.
In their upcoming fight in December, Chimaev will certainly have momentum on his side against Edwards and is the betting favorite despite being unranked at welterweight. Despite those odds, Edwards is no slouch and will be the first ranked opponent Chimaev has faced and by far the toughest. While Chimaev may sport a 3-0 record in the UFC, Edwards had built up plenty of momentum of his own before COVID-19 disrupted his schedule, winning his last eight fights. A win for Edwards should put him right back on the map as one of the top welterweight contenders while Chimaev could prove his early success is no fluke and catapult him into superstardom.