Friday, May 27, 2022

UFC Fight Night result, highlights: Calvin Kattar overwhelms Giga Chikadze to score big decision victory

Kattar rebounded from a brutal loss to Max Holloway to prove he’s still a force at featherweight

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Calvin Kattar entered Saturday’s UFC Fight Night main event against Giga Chikadze looking to prove he was still a relevant player in the featherweight division despite having absorbed a record number of strikes in his most recent fight, a drubbing at the hands of former division champion Max Holloway. It didn’t take long for Kattar to prove he hadn’t had the fight beaten out of him, putting heaps of pressure on Chikadze en route to a clear unanimous decision victory.

Chikadze opened strong, throwing a steady diet of punches and kicks to Kattar’s head and body. One first-round mistake from Chikadze was enough to turn the fight, however, as he slipped after missing a kick, allowing Kattar to dominate the opening frame on the ground.

That early grappling work seemed to take a lot of steam out of Chikadze as he largely abandoned the kicks that had served him so well early Kattar then amped up the pressure, charging forward and throwing strikes that opened up cuts across Chikadze’s face.

Still, Chikadze stayed in the fight, landing enough punches of his own to make Kattar work for every inch, even as the fight tilted strongly in Kattar’s favor with every minute that ticked by.

Kattar followed that blueprint for the rest of the fight, absorbing punches to land more of his own and never let Chikadze set his feet long enough to get off with meaningful flurries. A final exclamation point on the performance came when Kattar scored a knockdown in the final seconds of the fight that nearly led to a stoppage before Chikadze was saved by the horn.

It wasn’t quite the performance Holloway showed against him, but Kattar landed an incredible 72 significant strikes in the fifth round, a strong finish against a tough opponent as he earned the win by official scores of 50-45, 50-45, 50-44.

“I feel great,” Kattar said after his win. “He was a tough fighter. 7-0 in the UFC, he was doing something right. They all counted me out in this fight. But like I said, it ain’t about who is counting you out as long as you believe in yourself.”

Kattar is now 7-3 in the UFC, and while it remains a big mountain to climb to enter title contention after eating 447 strikes from Holloway one day short of a year prior to the Chikadze fight, the Massachusetts native proved there’s still plenty in the tank.

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