LAS VEGAS (AP) — Fighting Giga Chikadze must be like battling an octopus equipped with a slew of nightsticks and a few baseball bats.
The featherweight in the UFC is a tornado of movement, utilizing every limb to inflict pain and harm on his opponent. On paper, his fight with Edson Barboza in the main event of UFC Vegas 35 on Saturday was one of the greatest of the year, and it delivered in a big way.
It’s possible that it has generated a new star in the process.
In a battle of two of the UFC’s best fighters, Chikadze dominated Barboza, who was a small favorite at BetMGM, halting him with his hands at 1:44 of the third round after bludgeoning him for the greater part of two rounds.
As he made his way to the dais for the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White remarked, “I’m just geeking out over that.”
Jake Paul, who fights ex-UFC champion Tyron Woodley on a pay-per-view in Cleveland on Saturday, couldn’t resist taking a dig at White, who has recently established a rivalry with him.
White got up from his cageside position in the midst of the bout and approached reporters to criticize those who traveled to Cleveland instead. He unloaded again during the press conference,
unable to comprehend why people didn’t view Chikadze-Barboza as the fantastic match it turned out to be.
If you’re an MMA writer, blogger, or anything, you’re bats*** crazy if you weren’t in Cleveland to witness this, “White added.
Barboza, who has been a mainstay in the UFC’s lightweight and featherweight divisions over the past decade and has left more opponents hobbling after fights than just about anybody, was faster and more precise than Chikadze.
Chikadze, a former kickboxer, is just getting his bearings as an MMA fighter after making his debut in 2015. Fighting is in White’s DNA, as he likes to say.
It’s been a long time, says the narrator. Chikadze stated, “I’ve been doing this since I was four years old.” “I’m convinced my father planned for me to be a warrior from the moment I was born, if not before. Apart from this, I don’t do anything else. I’ve been doing martial arts since I was a child, and I love it. It’s a pastime of mine. “
He’s going to be handsomely compensated for his pastime now. He made a lot of sacrifices in his camp, and he claimed that 80 percent of his teammates thought he should have dropped out due to ailments,
including a biceps tear, fractured bones in his right hand, and a knee issue.
In addition, while training for the greatest bout of his MMA career, he fasted for eight weeks for religious reasons.
“Life has presented me with many challenges, and I have never turned down an opportunity,” Chikadze added. “I don’t have that kind of personality.”
Character was important, but Chikadze’s athletic abilities were the deciding element in this match. He was consistently out-punching Barboza and moving about the cage with ease.
He complimented his team’s preparedness and claimed to know exactly what Barboza would accomplish.
Rafael Cordeiro, Chikadze’s head coach, cited his speed and footwork as key elements in executing the game plan.
“His speed made all the difference,” Cordeiro added. “There was a significant change in his speed. His gait was noticeably different. Edson was caught off guard by Giga’s footwork and quickness. This was Giga’s most impressive performance. “
He kicked Barboza in the legs, the torso, and the head. He juggled his fists, joking that he nearly forgot to throw punches since he was so focused on the kicks. At one point, he even worked on a submission.
Because of his excellent kickboxing, Chikadze will be a prominent player in the category.
In MMA, there have been many distinct periods, according to Cordeiro. “I think this is the kickboxing period, as opposed to the jiu-jitsu or wrestling eras. The strike has returned, and striking is crucial because every battle begins on the ground. Giga just has stunning [hitting] abilities and a thorough understanding of the game. “
Chikadze entered the fight rated 10th in the featherweight category, but he should rise quickly. Without mentioning Yair Rodriguez’s name, he said that Rodriguez rated third in the division and hasn’t fought in the UFC in the two years he has been there.
White hasn’t decided whether or not to employ Chikadze as a backup for the featherweight championship fight on Oct. 30 between champion Alex Volkanovski and Brian Ortega, but I will say this:
It would be better if there were more Giga Chikadzes. It’s almost hard to get enough of him.