UFC featherweight contender Giga Chikadze is looking to prove that he’s not just an elite striker but also a well-rounded mixed martial artist.
Chikadze faces arguably the toughest test of his UFC career against Calvin Kattar at UFC Vegas 46. While Kattar is coming off of a tough loss to Max Holloway last year, he’s still regarded as one of the toughest brawlers in the featherweight division.
Chikadze knocked out the always-dangerous Edson Barboza in his last Octagon appearance but also showcased an improved grappling skillset in the win. He nearly had Barboza in trouble on the ground before transitioning back to his striking base.
During his UFC Vegas 46 pre-fight media scrum, Chikadze teased his game plan for his matchup with Kattar.
“I feel like he’s going to mix it up with a bit of the wrestling,” Chikadze said. “I think that’s going to be his plan because he is from a wrestling background. Then he has some nice boxing techniques. Either he’s going to box with me, or he’s gonna wrestle with me.
“Honestly, I really want to show the people how great my ground game became. I want to submit people eventually, very soon, and start submitting people. But because Calvin Kattar has never been knocked out, it gives me a little bit more motivation to finish him with striking.”
Chikadze later explained why he moved away from his grappling in his last victory over Barboza.
“Last time I really had the chance to finish Edson with submission, but like I said, I had to prove that I’m the best striker and this was the reason why I let it go. This time? I said that I’m the best boxer in the UFC too, so probably I’m gonna still go more to the strikes. But if I get a chance like I did with Edson, this time I’m not going to let it go.”
Chikadze could be one win away from a featherweight title shot after going back-and-forth on social media with Alexander Volkanovski. If he’s able to continue to improve his overall game, he could be an unstoppable force at 145 pounds for years to come.
What is your prediction for Giga Chikadze vs. Calvin Kattar?