Israel Adesanya is backing big underdog Gilbert Burns against Khamzat Chimaev.
According to Tipico, Burns (20-4 MMA, 13-4 UFC) is a +370 underdog heading into Saturday’s UFC 273 matchup with Chimaev (10-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC).
UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has been heavily sold on Chimaev. But Volkanovski’s teammate, UFC middleweight champion Adesanya, is going with the underdog.
“I know Burns,” Adesanya said on his YouTube channel. “He don’t play about it. He’s real. He’s really about this life. I’m glad that he’s up at welterweight now because he’s a lot better at this weight class. But Khamzat on a roll. His last opponent, ‘The Leech’ (Li Jingliang), was the most impressive opponent he’s beat so far.
“Gilbert Burns is good, but he gets hit. Everyone gets hit, and he’s got power in his punches. You know what? I’ll be rooting for Burns. I think he can get it done.”
Burns gave welterweight champion Kamaru Usman one of his toughest tests to date when he stormed off to a great start in their UFC 258 title fight. After scoring a knockdown in Round 1, Burns ultimately was finished in Round 3. But he was able to rebound with a lopsided unanimous decision win over two-time title challenger Stephen Thompson at UFC 264.
“Durinho” recently gave MMA Junkie an inside look at one of his grueling workouts ahead of his fight with Chimaev and the Brazilian is leaving no stone unturned in his preparation.
UFC 273 takes place Saturday at Vystar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla. The main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and early prelims on ESPN+.