- Date & Location: Saturday, August 2 @ UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Odds: Edson Barboza (-110) vs. Giga Chikadze (-110) via Bovada
- Prediction: Barboza via decision
Two of the more exciting fighters in the UFC’s featherweight division meet in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 35 fight card from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
In one corner is the No. 9 ranked Edson Barboza. Barboza, who has been with the UFC since 2010, has been battling the best fighters in the UFC for most of his career. The 35-year-old went through a rough patch between 2017 and early 2020 when he went 1-5, but the Brazilian is now on a two-fight winning streak since he dropped from lightweight to featherweight in October 2020.
Giga Chikadze does not have the MMA credentials of his opponent, but the 32-year-old has years of combat sports experience to his name. The Georgian is one of the better kickboxers to transition to MMA. Chikadze, who is the No. 10 ranked UFC featherweight, joined the UFC in 2019. He is 6-0 with the promotion and has finished his two most recent fights via first-round knockout.
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BARBOZA vs. CHIKADZE PREDICTION & PICK
My first prediction for this fight is that it will be one of the more exciting striking battles of the year. I believe even the most casual MMA fans should tune into this contest because these two are some of the more explosive strikers in the UFC and they both possess the talent and skills to end the fight in breathtaking fashion. Regular viewers of UFC bouts will know Barboza from his 2012 knockout win over Terry Etim that is still shown during the introduction to most UFC pay-per-view events.
I think this fight will be an all striking affair and I think Barboza’s big fight MMA experience will be the difference maker. Without having to worry about going to the mat, Barboza should be free to use his MMA skills to his advantage. I think Chikadze will give Barboza some problems and I won’t be surprised if Chikadze wins, but I don’t think Chikadze has faced an opponent as skilled and experienced as Barboza in his MMA career.
Prediction: Barboza -118 via BetOnline.
BETTING VALUE WITH BARBOZA
The only outcome of this fight that would be a surprise would be a submission win. Other than that. I can see either fighter winning by decision or knockout. I predict this fight will be exciting and it will be nerve-wracking for bettors because the skills of these two mean things could turn on a dime and end at any second. I favor Barboza by decision, but things could go either way. The betting in this one could really come down to a gut feeling because of how evenly matched these two are in the striking department.
Pick: Barboza via decision -120 via SportsBetting.
WHO HAS THE EDGE?
I’m leaning Barboza on this one for a single reason. That reason is because he has much more experience working inside a cage. Other than that, this bout is extremely even.
FIGHT STATS: BARBOZA vs. CHIKADZE
|Edson Barboza||Category||Giga Chikadze|
|4.16||Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute||3.55|
|4.15||Significant Strikes Absorbed Per Minute||2.67|
|0.42||Takedown Average Per 15 Minutes||0.38|
|0.1||Submission Average Per 15 Minutes||0.0|
WHAT’S AT STAKE
With both men in their 30s and hanging around the bottom of the top-10 of the featherweight division, this is a very important matchup. A win here will put the victor among the elite of the 145-pound weight class. A loss, especially for Barboza, could relegate the vanquished competitor to gatekeeper status.
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