UFC Vegas 46: Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze preview and prediction.
The first UFC event of 2022 goes down on Jan. 15, from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The event is headlined by a top-ranked UFC men’s featherweight bout between No. 5 ranked Calvin Kattar, and No. 8 ranked Giga Chikadze.
Chikadze is coming off the biggest win of his career at UFC Vegas 35 last August, where he defeated Edson Barboza by way of 3rd round TKO.
As for Kattar, it will be one year less a day on Saturday since the hellacious beating he took against Max Holloway at UFC on ABC 1 last January. Holloway defeated Kattar in one of the most lopsided UFC main events in recent memory, with a 50-43, 50-43, and 50-42 unanimous decision.
Kattar will look to bounce back and hold his position in the top five of the men’s featherweight rankings, while a win for Chikadze will ensure his spot among the top contenders for current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
UFC Vegas 46: Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze preview
Kattar is 6-3 since making his UFC debut back in 2017, with four of his six wins coming by way of stoppage. Meanwhile, Giga Chikadze is undefeated with a 7-0 record since his 2019 UFC debut, with four of his seven wins coming by way of decision.
For Chikadze, the fight could mark one of the toughest challenges to date in his MMA career. However, there are some unknowns relating to Kattar’s form, and whether or not he will be able to bounce back from such a one-sided loss.
Sportsbooks such as WynnBet currently have Chikadze lined as the -240 betting favorite, with Kattar on the comeback as the +210 underdog.
As far as overall match-up, this bout comes down to a high-level precision kickboxer in Chikadze, taking on a technical brawler in Kattar, who also has elite Thai-style striking of his own.
The difference in this match-up may come down to something that can not be quantified or easily evaluated, heart. While Kattar did receive what should be one of the worst beatings of his career to Holloway last year, he did show an incredible amount of fortitude to remain in the fight for the full 25-minutes.
Although Chikadze has shown to be one the most skilled strikers in the featherweight division to date, he has also shown a tendency to tire in the later stages of his previous fights. Not to mention that Chikadze has yet to reach the fourth round of a fight across his entire professional MMA career.
If Kattar is able to withstand the early barrage from Chikadze and is able to take the fight into the deep waters of the fourth or fifth round, it may be a turning point. The main event experience of Kattar should be the difference-maker in this match-up.
If Chikadze begins to gas out in the later rounds, Kattar will most certainly be live for a late-round stoppage, or possibly edge out a come-from-behind decision win. In the case of Kattar, the former is probably more likely than the latter.
Prediction: Kattar by TKO.
UFC Vegas 46 takes place on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, live from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, NV. Follow along with FanSided MMA, who is on-site, for all your news and highlights.