Both title bouts at Saturday’s UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi are now official, after all four combatants made weight on Friday morning – although Khamzat Chimaev struggled ahead of his much-awaited return to competition.
Light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, who defends the belt he captured in the capital last year, was one of the first men to hit the scales at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, coming in on the money at 205lbs. Blachowicz’s rival, Glover Teixeira, took a little more time to appear, but came to the stage at the same weight.
Setting up the night’s other championship clash - the interim bantamweight title encounter - both Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen were right on point. Sandhagen, the No 3-ranked challenger who accepted the fight on short notice, was among the first out and weighed in at 135lbs. Yan, the former champion initially scheduled for an immediate rematch with belt-holder Aljamain Sterling, was on stage soon after, weighing 135lbs also.
Meanwhile, the hugely anticipated lightweight match-up between Islam Makhachev and Dan Hooker is teed up nicely, with the former clocking 155.5lbs on the scales and the latter a half pound heavier.
The morning's drama was saved for the welterweight clash that whets the appetite. No 11-ranked contender Li Jingliang came in at 171lbs, with Chimaev then having everyone waiting. Making his comeback 13 months after blitzing to a 3-0 record in the UFC, the returning star was last to take to the scales, initially weighing 171.5lbs - a half pound over the limit.
Chimaev has not competed since September last year after a protracted battle with Covid-19. On Friday, the Chechen-born Swede was given an extra hour beyond the two-hour allocated time to weigh in.
Eventually, he arrived back to the ballroom 45 minutes later, but a problem with the scales meant another delay. Erroneously reading 166lbs upon Chimaev's second attempt, he was finally declared at 171lbs.