Two of the most violent liver kickers in all of MMA will face off on Saturday evening in the main event of UFC Vegas 35 when Edson Barboza squares off against Giga Chikadze. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.
- When: Saturday August 28th, 2021 at 7:00pm ET (ESPN+)
- Where: UFC Apex, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Line: Edson Barboza (-105) and Giga Chikadze (-115)
Edson “Junior” Barboza will be looking to win three in a row at Fight Night this Saturday and the Brazilian could make a case to be considered in conversations about UFC featherweight title contenders if he can take care of business against the surging Chikadze.
Barboza has an inch reach advantage on Chikadze, averaging 4.16 strikes (significant) landed per minute (SLpM) with 44 percent striking accuracy, with 4.15 strikes absorbed per minute (SApM) with 59 percent striking defense, 0.42 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 44 percent takedown accuracy and 78 percent takedown defense, according to UFC Stats.
‘Junior’ has two wins and three losses in his last five contests, having won his last two at featherweight against Shane Burgos (TKO Rd3, 2021) and Makwan Amirkhani (UD, 2020) and lost to Dan Ige (SD, 2020) at featherweight, Paul Felder (SD, 2019) and Justin Gaethje (TKO Rd1, 2019) at lightweight.
Giga “Ninja” Chikadze appears to be winning in a more convincing and violent manner with each successive fight in the UFC but the Georgian will be facing his biggest test in the organization to date in his first main event this weekend.
Though Barboza has been fighting in the UFC for almost a decade longer than Chikadze, the Ninja is 32 years old, only two years younger than Barboza, and has a one inch height advantage. He averages 3.55 SLpM with 44 percent striking accuracy and 2.67 SApM with 60 percent striking defense, 0.38 takedowns per 15 minutes with a 33 percent takedown accuracy and 68 percent takedown defense.
Chikadze has won five straight, including finishes against Cub Swanson (TKO Rd1, 2021) and Jamey Simmons (TKO Rd1, 2020), unanimous decisions over Omar Morales (2020) and Irwin Rivera (2020) and a split-decision win over Jamal Emmers (2020).
Edson Barboza vs. Giga Chikadze Narratives
Chikadze is younger, taller and more active in terms of recent fighting, with better striking defense and more sustained momentum at this weight in his last five fights.
Barboza has more experience against better competition and wields the kind of power and violent striking that has knocked out lightweights such as the likes of Beneil Dariush.
Edson Barboza vs. Giga Chikadze Prediction
Though Chikadze is undefeated since joining the UFC in 2019 and has looked dominant in his last two contests, there is a reason he wasn’t in the organization until after his 30th birthday and valid questions about his level of competition so far persist.
In contrast, Barboza was raised in the UFC since 2010 and has fought the killers of the lightweight division, going the distance against Khabib Nurmagomedov and holding wins over Dan Hooker, Paul Felder, Glibert Melendez, Anthony Pettis and Bobby Green.
Cub Swanson is a legend of the game but was washed when he went down to liver kicks against Chikadze and the rest of Ninja’s UFC wins have come against significantly weaker competition and in a smaller sample size from which to draw conclusions.
I spoke to Dylan Salvador who beat Giga Chikadze in kickboxing. He’s picking Edson 👀
— Dan (@BestFightPicks) August 22, 2021
This fight could very well be a close contest against similarly sized fighters, both with violent striking capabilities, but due to the profound discrepancy in strength of schedule and recency bias appearing to favor Chikadze, we see Chikadze as overvalued in the market and the value on Barboza.
Pick: Barboza (-105)
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