Swedish MMA fighter Khamzat Chimaev has sent the UFC world into a frenzy after delivering a brutal one-punch KO during his bout with Gerald Meerschaert.
Chimaev was undeniably the favourite leading into Sunday’s fight at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, but nobody could have predicted the encounter to finish within 17 seconds.
Early in the first round, the 26-year-old edged his opponent into the fence before firing in a powerful right hook for his opening punch.
Chimaev’s fist connected squarely with Meerschaert’s jaw, leaving the American veteran out cold on the floor, and the referee was forced to stop the fight.
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For a second consecutive fight, Chimaev secured a comprehensive win without getting hit by his opponent. It was also the third-fastest knockout in UFC middleweight history.
Chimaev was deservedly awarded Performance of the Night, claiming the coveted US$50,000 bonus.
Radio host Jim Rome tweeted: “Holy s**t! Can’t remember a prospect like Khamzat Chimaev in a long ass time. Ever.”
Sports reporter Adam Hill tweeted: “Chimaev about to become a superstar. That punch was absolutely perfect and it just took one.”
Boxing photographer Ed Mulholland posted: “Is it possible to just have Chimaev fight every week? Wow!!”
UFC President Dana White was particularly taken aback by the powerful blow, bluntly tweeting: “HOOOOOOOLY F***ING S**T!!!!!!!!!!”
MMA Podcaster Sean Sheehan cheekily posted: “Dana White absolutely ecstatic with all the money he’s going to make while hugely underpaying Khamzat Chimaev.”
Following the fight, Chimaev was asked what his thoughts were as he walked into the Octagon: “Kill this guy. Just knock him out, like I did.”
With his ninth consecutive professional MMA wins, Chimaev has set a new UFC record for the shortest time between three victories, at just 66 days.
Now unbeaten at 3-0 in the UFC, Chimaev is next slated to fight Demian Maia in November.
Earlier in the card, Australian Jessica-Rose Clark was at the centre of controversy at UFC Vegas 11 after the 32-year-old seemingly kneed her rival in the head when she was on the ground.