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Giga Chikadze
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
In the Clinch

The UFC opens 2022: Featherweight fight between Kattar & Chikadze

by Steven Ricciardi
Updated On: January 11, 2022, 1:09 am ET

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The UFC is back with the main event showdown between two strikers in Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze.  This fight has some ties to the UFC Featherweight title picture also.  Giga Chikadze could be next up for a title shot if he wins this fight.  UFC 272 was supposed to put Alexander Volkanovski opposite Max Holloway for the third time.  That main event for the UFC Featherweight Title was announced and canceled a few days later when Max had to remove himself with an injury. Giga can replace Max with a strong showing in this fight and be ready for March 5th vs Volkanovski.   

 

The Skillset of Giga Chikadze

Giga Chikadze is a strong kickboxer.  Giga is very patient and has no problem fighting from the outside ring of the octagon.  He also has very good distance control and is able to lead the striking exchanges or counterstrike.  Giga is listed as an orthodox fighter but he spends a lot of time in the southpaw stance.  He has a powerful left kick to all levels out of that southpaw stance.  He uses long hand-strikes and a well-timed jump knee as he closes distance.   His performance vs Edson Barboza was impressive.  His striking got better as the fight finished round 1 and he was able to hurt Edson with a barrage of strikes.  Giga fights out of Kings MMA with Coach Rafael Cordeira.  

 

The Skillset of Calvin Kattar    

Calvin Katter has fought very good competition since he entered the UFC.  Calvin is a conventional boxer who doesn’t look for takedowns and occasionally will mix in a few leg kicks.  He trains out of New England Cartel with coach Tyson Chartier.  Coach Chartier came under some scrutiny in Calvin’s last fight vs Max Holloway.  Max came out strong in round 1 and didn’t stop striking for five rounds.  Max landed 447 of 746 strikes in that fight vs Kattar.  It’s worth mentioning those numbers here because Kattar took a year off after that fight.  He needed that time to recover and I’d also think he wanted to add some tricks to his arsenal.  Kattar never got the chance to start his attack because of the pressure Max put on him.  Kattar started winging punches from the hip in an attempt to catch Max and create some separation.  In Kattar’s previous fights, the striking output from him or his opponents was nowhere near the aforementioned fight with Max Holloway.  It was certainly a career-changing fight for Calvin Katter and it’ll be interesting to see how he responds.  

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The Stats

  • Chikadze holds a 1-inch height advantage and 2-inch reach advantage  
  • Kattar averages 5.07 strikes landed per 15 minutes, Chikadze averages 3.76 strikes landed per 15 minutes
  • Chikadze has a 61% defense rate, Kattar has a 50% defense rate with a much higher number of strikes absorbed largely due to the Max Holloway fight 

 

 

 

 

 

Picking a Winner

My pick to win the Main Event: 

  • Giga Chikadze

My preferred bet for the Main Event: 

  • Fight Starts Round 4 -120

 

This fight is going to be very interesting to watch.  Both fighters have been very patient in the past.  They both want to establish their distance early in this fight.  Giga has tremendous distance management and uses his kicks to keep that distance. Let’s pay attention to who takes the center of the octagon, provides the pressure, and leads the dance.  I expect it to be Giga Chikadze who will settle into that southpaw stance and attack the midsection of Calvin Kattar.  Giga should be able to get ahead in this fight in the early rounds.   Giga’s head kick is also a weapon that Calvin needs to look out for in this fight.  Calvin’s path to victory includes winning one of the 1st three rounds while wearing down Giga.  Giga was noticeably exhausted in round 3 vs Edson Barboza when he finished that fight.  Neither fighter has been willing to take down their opponent much in previous fights but Calvin may attempt to slow Giga down by clinching up and holding him against the cage.  At the current line, I will not be betting a side in this fight.  The bet I like most is Fight Starts Round 4 as a result of their patience and neither fighter has been finished in 16 combined UFC fights. 

 

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Steven Ricciardi

Steven Ricciardi is a Combat Sports betting analyst for NBC Sports EDGE. He started Jersey Boys Sports Media to cover MMA events such as the UFC, PFL and Ring of Combat. His podcast started in 2018 which covers UFC betting and MMA DFS. You can follow Steven Ricciardi on Twitter @CombatSportsNBC