Khamzat Chimaev’s highly-anticipated UFC return is reportedly close to coming to fruition at middleweight against Paulo Costa.
According to MMA content creator Melotto, Costa has signed his side of the contract to face Chimaev in a middleweight matchup at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi. It’s uncertain if Chimaev has signed off on the fight as of this writing.
Exclusivo: Paulo Borrachinha assinou o contrato para enfrentar Khamzat Chimaev no UFC 294, dia 21 de outubro, em Abu Dhabi, após o confronto com Ikram Aliskerov não se materializar. pic.twitter.com/KjPZF4dYP9
— MMA Melotto (@MMAmelotto) July 18, 2023
If the initial reports are true, Chimaev will make his middleweight return after fighting at welterweight for most of his career. He defeated Gerald Meerschaert in his only other UFC middleweight fight by first-round knockout.
Chimaev hasn’t fought since defeating Kevin Holland int he UFC 279 co-main event last year. He was supposed to face Nate Diaz in the main event before badly missing weight.
Chimaev is unbeaten in his professional MMA career with wins over the likes of Li Jingliang and Gilbert Burns. He surged into a UFC star in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Khamzat Chimaev Reportedly Returns After Year-Long Layoff vs. Paulo Costa
Costa defeated former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold in his last fight at UFC 278 last year. He was scheduled to face Ikram Aliskerov at next week’s UFC 291 before it was recently reported that the bout fell through.
Costa signed a new multi-fight deal with the UFC despite initial concern from the brass that he would test free agency. He’s looking to get back into the middleweight title picture and potentially earn a rematch against Israel Adesanya.
UFC 294 takes place on October 21st at Etihad Arena and is expected to be headlined by the return of UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev.
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