Cavlin Kattar and Giga Chikadze meet in the headliener of the UFC on ESPN 32, the first big MMA evnt in the 2022. These two featherweights open the hunting season for Alexander Volkanovski and his belt. Kattar is the No.5 in the rankings, while Chikadze sits three places behind. Though, their current situation is not the same. Kattar is coming off as a guy who lost his chance to become a challenger, while on the other hand, this is Chikadze’s. If the fella from Georgia wins, he will probably be the next rival for Alexander Volkanovski. That is if he defends the belt against the Korean Zombie.
Calvin Kattar (22-5 MMA, 6-3 UFC) lost to Max Holloway a year ago in the battle that could have earned him a ticket to challenge Volkanovski. Kattar beat Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige previously but eventually lost to Holloway in a very convincing manner. The Blessed landed 435 significant strikes on Kattar, earning a unanimous decision victory.
The 33-year old American is a stand-up fighter whose main discipline is boxing. He isn’t very keen on going down to the mat, and rarely tries to score a takedown. On the other side, his defense in that area is relatively solid. Kattar likes to say that he is the best boxer in the organization, and indeed, he has a very good skillset here but is far from, let’s say, Blessed Holloway.
His cardio is quite solid, and Kattar can endure tough matchups and high-intensity exchanges. There is one thing that could be problematic for him – the number of absorbed strikes. The fight against Holloway exposed Kattar’s inability to protect himself against equally talented boxers.
Giga Chikadze (14-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) is on fire, not losing a single bout since coming to the UFC. His last failure was in 2018, when Austin Springer beat him in Dana White’s Contender Series 10. Following that, Giga went on to win nine straight matches and establish himself as one of the most devastating fighters in this division.
Chikadze reached the focus of attention in the last year or so, winning three consecutive evens and earning the Performance of the Night bonuses for each. We need to say that his opponents during that stretch were Jamey Simmons, Cub Swanson, and Edson Barboza and that Giga KOd all of them.
His main weapons are strong punches and leg hits because of kick-boxing, which is his main discipline. He already became famous for hard kicks to the liver.
Chikadze is in a better position as he knows to hide from the rival’s punches better than Kattar. We know that Georgian’s opponents weren’t at the same level as Kattar’s. This is undoubtedly the biggest test of his career, yet we think he has what it takes to defeat the American. That would earn him the contender status an opportunity to face the better from Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie matchup.
We predict that the victory will be via knockout, with the current odds for that sitting at +240.
Pick: Chikadze +240
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.