- Giga Chikadze has carved through the UFC so far, with running Performance of the Night bonuses.
- He faces Edson Barboza to continue his ascent in the UFC Featherweight division.
- Barboza is in many ways a mirror of Chikadze, but with far more fight experience - and is favored (-120) on the odds boards.
LAS VEGAS - Giga Chikadze is about to face his first legitimate test in the UFC in the form of Edson Barboza on Saturday. Chikadze, ranked 10th in the featherweight division, is alternately regarded as a top-level prospect and a can crusher.
His biggest win so far is his most recent - a liver kick victory over Cub Swanson, who, at 37 years old, was clearly on the downswing at the time. Still, Chikadze is riding two consecutive Performance of the Night victories, and has a lot of hype behind him at the moment.
Edson Barboza is also on the aging side - at 35, the Brazilian has been fighting for over a decade, and is also known for horrifying liver kicks - most famously to Dan Hooker, who took three of them in the course of a minute and a half before going down.
The matchup between these two fighters seems even, but the pattern here recalls other gatekeeper-esque fights of the past. Barboza is a veteran, and will be the toughest test Chikadze has faced.
Edson Barboza vs. Giga Chikadze Moneyline Odds
- Edson Barboza -120
- Giga Chikadze +100
Barboza is at his best when fighting against those who try to mirror him, which Chikadze’s style seems to do. Both men are kickboxers with dangerous liver kicks, and both men prefer to keep fights standing and throw kicks from range.
Dan Hooker tried to stay at range and beat Barboza at his own game, and he got demolished. If Chikadze tries to do the same, he’s likely to meet the same fate.
In order to win, Chikadze will have to pressure forwards against Barboza, and not get sucked into trading at range in the center of the octagon. In other words, he’ll have to fight smart - like a legitimate contender. Online gambling fans will have to wait and see if he can manage to pull it off.
Method of Victory - Barboza vs. Chikadze Odds
- Giga Chikadze Wins Inside Distance +195
- Edson Barboza Wins Inside Distance +195
- Giga Chikadze Wins By 5 Round Decision +345
- Edson Barboza Wins By 5 Round Decision +250
- Draw +6600
The method of victory odds illustrate what appears to be a skill gap between the two fighters in terms of trading at range. Both fighters have +195 odds to finish their opponent before the fight ends, but Barboza is favored over Chikadze to win a decision.
If the fight turns into a trading-at-range battle, it seems like the MMA betting markets believe that Barboza will come out on top.