Key Stats: 5 submission wins (1st all-time among MW), 46% takedown defense, 43.8% takedown accuracy (5th)
What It Means: “GM3” is as slick as they get on the ground and he has a penchant for finding a submission out of nowhere. He’s also adept at setting his opponent up to fall into a trap so he can sweep and continue his grappling attack. His overall offense has improved as well, and his blend from striking to grappling makes him a difficult opponent for more single-minded opponents. With 44 professional fights under his belt, he is as experienced as they come and is leaning into playing spoiler against Chimaev’s rising star. Since entering the UFC in 2016, he has hung right outside the top 15, dropping fights almost exclusively to fighters either in the same range or in the top of the weight class.
What to Look For in the Fight: Chimaev was probably the biggest winner coming out of Fight Island, gaining notoriety not only for picking up a pair of wins in a record-breaking time frame but also with his “smashing” style that drew quick comparisons to Khabib Nurmagomedov. While his wins were impressive, Meerschaert is his toughest test by a long shot, so if the veteran can provide some resistance, it will be interesting to see how Chimaev can adjust on the fly. Meerschaert is dangerous off his back and can take advantage of an overly aggressive fighter, but Chimaev, to this point, has shown that he might have a little extra something that makes him a potential contender sooner than later.