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Anthony Smith thinks Khamzat Chimaev is unbeatable – if the fight stays in the first round.

Chimaev (13-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) faces Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) in a middleweight title eliminator which headlines UFC on ABC 6 on June 22 at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Chimaev is still undefeated, but hasn’t looked as dominant as of late. He’s gotten off to good starts in recent wins over Gilbert Burns and Kamaru Usman, but slowed down as the fight progressed. Smith says in the first five minutes of a fight, he’d take Chimaev over anyone.

“I’m a real big believer in Khamzat, I really am,” Smith said on his “Believe You Me” podcast with Michael Bisping. “I think the guy’s incredible. But if we’re just being critical, first round. I think Khamzat can beat anybody across any weight class, I don’t give a sh*t who it is.

“Anybody in the world, he can beat in the first round. We start getting into the second, third, fourth, fifth – the Gilbert Burns fight is a perfect example. If that fight goes another two rounds, (he’d be in trouble). … First round, monster.”

However, Smith isn’t too sure of Chimaev’s chances against former champion Whittaker in what will be the first five-round fight of his career.

“Whittaker won’t get tired, and that’s my sticking point,” Smith said. “If he can do lots of big damage early in the first round, second round, and kind of compromise Whittaker early, then I think he can cruise. If he paces himself early, now he’s not the Khamzat we’re used to. He’s not as effective. So I don’t know. I hate to say it, but I lean Whittaker.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC on ABC 6.

Author: Staff

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