Edson Barboza and Giga Chikadze headline the UFC on ESPN 30 this Saturday night. The two featherweights are desperate to win and boost their stocks for the upcoming period. Barboza is an experienced veteran whose career was on the decline, but he decided to drop down to featherweight and try to attack the title in this division. Meanwhile, Chikadze is on the rise, and he will try to continue his impressive streak in the UFC and force Dana White to give him a chance to meet the big dogs.
Barboza (-105) was in a very rough limbo between 2017 and May last year. He lost four times in five fights, and the latter two defeats to Paul Felder and Dan Ige were via split decision. We need to say that in both of those contests, the Brazilian looked excellent. Before that, he lost to Khabib, Kevin Lee, and Justin Gaethje, who smashed him via first-round KO.
The 35-year old is one of the veterans of this sport and in this division. Back in the days, he was very nasty, defeating guys like Paul Felder, Anthony Pettis, Beneil Dariush, Dan Hooker, etc. He rose in the last two bouts, posting wins over Makwan Amirkhani and Shane Burgos, whom he KOd at the UFC 262.
Barboza is a fantastic striker, primarily a kickboxer with an extremely good sense of chopping the rival’s legs. He might not be fast as before, but the output of his strikes and kicks is still very high.
Chikadze (-115) comes in as a favorite here because of his perfect UFC record. Even though he has two defeats in his MMA career, the Georgian fighter posted six wins in the organization, the lat and the most notable against Cub Swanson, whom he TKOd this May.
It was a short and swift win as Chikadze trashed Swanson after 1:03 of the opening round, earning the Performance of the Night bonus, his second straight, after doing the same against Jamey Simmons, whom he also TKO in the opening round.
Like his opponent, Chikadze is also a fantastic kickboxer, with incredibly tough and powerful leg kicks which are able to shook every guy in the division. He was recently working with Beneil Dariush on improving the ground fight, and according to all the reporters who had a chance to see Chikadze, he should come out with a few new tricks against Barboza.
We like having these two guys in the headliner. Be sure that their fight will be very appealing and attractive because both guys deliver lots of clean hits. Our pick here would be Chikadze because he looks a bit quicker and more powerful than Barboza. Of course, small details will decide here, and one of them is that Chikadze trained with Beneil, who lost to Barboza several years ago. Beneil knows the Brazilian very well, and he will most definitely share a few pieces of advice with his friend. The odds are solid, and overall, this bet is risky, but far less than any other available.
Pick: Chikadze wins -105
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.