Calvin Kattar vs Giga Chikadze
January 15, 2022 10:45 pm EDT
The Line: Giga Chikadze -209 / Calvin Kattar +179
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Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze fight Saturday in UFC Vegas 46 at the UFC Apex. Kattar enters this fight with a 22-5 record and has won 50 percent of his fights by knockout. Chikadze enters this fight with a 14-2 record and has won 64 percent of his fights by knockout.
Kattar has won seven of his last 10 fights and is coming off a January (2021) loss to Max Holloway. Kattar is averaging 5.07 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 42 percent. Kattar is averaging 0.37 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 30 percent. Kattar is coming off a decision loss at UFC Fight Island 7 that earned fight of the night honors. In the losing effort, Kattar landed 134 total strikes but ate 447 total strikes. Kattar looks to avoid back-to-back losses for the first time in his career. Kattar has a high school wrestling background and showed some of his submission game earlier in his career, but he’s somebody who appears much more comfortable on his feet and simply unloads bombs. Kattar is polished with his boxing, as he sets his punches up well and throws with a purpose, and he has the power to end things with one shot. Kattar stuffs takedowns well, throws haymakers, and four of his last five victories have ended in knockouts. Kattar also showed in his last bout he has a chin that can hang with anybody. This will be Kattar’s first career fight in Nevada.
Chikadze has won each of his last nine fights and is coming off an August win over Edson Barboza. Chikadze is averaging 3.76 significant strikes per minute, with an accuracy percentage of 45 percent. Chikadze is averaging 0.33 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 33 percent. Chikadze is coming off a knockout win at UFC Vegas 35 where he landed 70 total strikes. The victory earned performance of the night honors, which Chikadze has earned in his last three bouts. Chikadze is now 7-1 under the UFC banner and hasn’t lost a fight since Dana White’s Contender Series 10 in June 2018. Chikadze is a long, rangy fighter with a black belt in Gōjū-ryū Karate and has a deep kickboxing background. Chikadze uses his distance well and uses his legs mostly standing up. Chikadze can mix in a punch here and there, but he’s most deadly with his legs, and he doesn’t take a lot of damage on the feet. Chikadze also has decent takedown defense and doesn’t make it easy for his opponent to close the distance. Chikadze has never been knocked out in his career. This will be Chikadze’s seventh career fight in Nevada.
Katter in the big underdog role is worth a look given his high work rate, his knockout pop and his strong chin, as he absorbs tons of strikes per minute and keeps moving forward. However, that’s not a great game plan against aosmebody like Chikadze, who makes his opponents pay when he throws something, and he controls the distance with his leg kicks. Chikadze is also the bigger fighter with the reach advantage here, and he’s on such a roll, I don’t think anybody is going to be eager to bet against him.
I have to side with Chikadze, and I’ll take him to win inside distance to shave down the juice.