Giga Chikadze is a legitimate force in the UFC

LAS VEGAS — Combating Giga Chikadze needs to resemble battling an octopus equipped with a lot of nightsticks and a baseball bat or 2.

The UFC featherweight is a whirlwind of action, utilizing every limb to trigger discomfort and develop damage on his challenger. His bout with Edson Barboza on Saturday in the primary occasion of UFC Vegas 35 was subtle among the very best bouts of the year on paper, and it provided in a significant method.

While doing so, it might have developed a brand-new star.

Chikadze overwhelmed Barboza, who was the small favorite at BetMGM, in a fight of 2 of the UFC’s leading fighters, stopping him with his hands at 1:44 of the 3rd after bludgeoning Barboza for the much better part of two-plus rounds.

“I’m just geeking out over that,” UFC president Dana White stated as he made his method to the dais for the post-fight press conference.

White couldn’t withstand trying his freshly established competitor, Jake Paul, who boxes ex-UFC champ Tyron Woodley on a pay-per-view in Cleveland on Saturday.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 28: (L-R) Edson Barboza of Brazil and Giga Chikadze of Georgia trade punches in a featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 28, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

(L-R) Edson Barboza of Brazil and Giga Chikadze of Georgia trade punches in a featherweight battle Saturday in Las Vegas. (Image by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Throughout the middle of the battle, White left his cageside seat and approached press reporters to chastise those who went to Cleveland rather. At the press conference, he unloaded once again, not able to fathom those who didn’t see Chikadze-Barboza as the excellent match it ended up being.

“If you are an MMA reporter or blogger or whatever, you are bats*** nuts if you were in Cleveland and weren’t here to see this,” White stated.

Chikadze was quicker and more precise than Barboza, who has actually been a stalwart in the UFC’s light-weight and featherweight departments over the last years and has actually left more fighters hopping after bouts than practically anybody.

A previous kickboxer, Chikadze is simply entering into his own as an MMA fighter after debuting in 2015. As White likes to state, battling remains in his DNA.

“It’s been a long time. I’ve been doing this since I was a 4-year-old,” Chikadze stated. “I’m sure my dad had the plan for me [to be a fighter] since I was born, maybe not even. Really, I don’t do anything besides this. Martial arts is what I have done since I was born, and it’s what I enjoy. It’s my hobby.”

He’s going to be making money extremely well for his pastime now. He withstood a lot of sacrifices in his camp and stated 80 percent of those on his group felt he needs to have taken out due to the fact that of injuries that consisted of a biceps tear, damaged bones in his right-hand man and a knee injury.

In addition, he fasted for 8 weeks for spiritual factors as he was getting ready for the most significant battle of his Mixed Martial Arts life.

“Life has been a big challenge for me and I never say no to opportunities,” Chikadze stated. “That’s not the type of character I have.”

Character was a huge element, however Chikadze’s physical abilities were the distinction in this bout. He was beating Barboza to the punch frequently and he moved easily around the cage.

He applauded his group for the preparation and stated he understood whatever Barboza was going to do.

Chikadze’s head coach, Rafael Cordeiro, indicated his speed and his footwork as vital consider managing the strategy.

“His quickness was a huge difference,” Cordeiro stated. “His speed was a big difference. His footwork was a difference. Edson was not prepared for Giga’s footwork or for his speed. This was Giga’s best performance.”

He tossed kicks to Barboza’s legs, his body and at his head. He blended his punches, although he joked that he practically forgot to toss punches due to the fact that he was so into the kicks. And he even dealt with a submission at one point.

Chikadze’s going to be a significant consider the department due to the fact that of how excellent his kickboxing is.

“There have been a lot of different eras in MMA,” Cordeiro stated. “We had a jiu-jitsu era and a wrestling era, but I believe this is the kickboxing era. The strike is back, and of course, striking is important because every fight starts on the feet. Giga just has beautiful [striking] skills and he understands it so well.”

Chikadze entered the bout ranked 10th in the featherweight department and needs to soar the rankings. He kept in mind without stating Yair Rodriguez’s name that Rodriguez is ranked 3rd in the department and hasn’t battled when in the two-plus years Chikadze’s remained in the UFC.

White stated he hasn’t chose whether to utilize Chikadze as a backup for the featherweight title battle in between champ Alex Volkanovski and Brian Ortega on Oct. 30, however I’ll state this:

The more Giga Chikadze, the much better. It’s practically difficult to get excessive of that person.

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.