A clash between ranked featherweights headlines the 12-bout betting ticket at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze on Saturday from the UFC Apex. Giga Chikadze takes his undefeated UFC record into the octagon against favorite Edson Barboza in what is sure to be an exciting fight. Both men are considered among the best strikers in the sport setting up not only a battle within the division, but also to see which fighter is the better striker. It’s a fight within a fight, if you will. Odds for every fight on the card are available at BookMaker.eu.
Both fighters like to go at it so it’ll be interesting to see what strategy they take against each other. Chikadze (13-2) has won all six fights in the promotion but takes a step up in competition as he looks to fast track his way to a title bout. And he appears to be getting stronger with every fight. His first two victories were by split decision followed by a pair of unanimous decision verdicts. He ended his last two bouts with first-round stoppages over Jamey Simmons and most recently Cub Swanson in May.
Chikadze wanted a big-name opponent and he got it in Barboza (22-9). I guess you better be careful what you wish for. Following two losses in the lightweight division, Barboza made the transition down to featherweight with his debut a controversial split decision loss to Dan Ige. At the time his stock plummeted with that being the fifth loss in six fights over the two divisions.
However, Barboza regained his winning form by doing what he does best. He got a unanimous decision over Makwan Amirkhani then scored a KO of Shane Burgos in May to revive his hopes for a run at the title. Barboza is listed as a -123 favorite with Chikadze a negative odds underdog at -107
The two bouts leading up to the main event are finals for The Ultimate Fighter Season 29 competition. Bryan Battle (6-1) takes on Gilbert Urbina (6-2) in a middleweight clash with Battle positioned as a -160 favorite. Urbina actually lost his semifinal bout with Tresean Gore, but gets another chance with Gore sidelined by an injury. Battle showed off his impressive skill set by dominating Kemran Lachinov followed by a submission of Andrei Petrovski in his semifinal bout.
Bantamweights Brady Hiestand (6-1) and Ricky Turcios (11-2) go at it for the TUF division crown. Turcios has the advantage of experience on his side and appears to be a more complete fighter. He’s listed as a -163 favorite with Heistand at +130.
We’re sure to see plenty of action inside the Octagon and there will be more action at the betting window with 12 fights making up UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze on Saturday, August 28. The six fight prelim card gets underway at 7 p.m. ET with the main card starting at 10 p.m. ET. All fights can be seen on ESPN and ESPN+. Betting options for every fight on the ticket are available at BookMaker.eu when you’re ready to make a wager.
UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze
Edson Barboza -123 vs. Giga Chikadze -107
Bryan Battle -160 vs. Gilbert Urbina +127
Brady Hiestand +130 vs. Ricky Turcios -163
Kevin Lee -150 vs. Daniel Rodriguez +120
Micheal Gillmore +379 vs. Andre Petroski -550
Gerald Meerschaert +456 vs. Makhmud Muradov -700
Alessio Di Chirico -235 vs. Abdul Razak Alhassan +183
Sam Alvey +100 vs. Wellington Turman -130
Darren Stewart +143 vs. Dustin Jacoby -180
Vanessa Demopoulos +267 vs. JJ Aldrich -360
Pat Sabatini +124 vs. Jamall Emmers -155
Guido Cannetti +228 vs. Mana Martinez -300
Edson Barboza ( -123 ) vs. Giga Chikadze ( -107 )
The main event will certainly be that. Putting two of the top strikers in the octagon together should be epic. And there is plenty at stake for both fighters, who sit on the fringe of competing for title shot. Chikadze has won eight straight fights with the last six inside the octagon. He’s now ready to take his game to another level and Barboza is the big name opponent he was looking for.
With a well-rounded background that includes championships in karate and kickboxing, Chikadze wants to use those skills to become an elite MMA fighter. Barboza isn’t ready to give up his hopes of a title. As well as being one of the top strikers, Barboza is known for his dangerous kicking game. That’s something he’ll use to keep his opponent at a distance to negate Chikadze’s power. Will it work, though?
UFC Prediction: Giga Chikadze / (T)KO 3rd Round
Kevin Lee ( -150 ) vs. Daniel Rodriguez ( +120)
This is an interesting welterweight matchup in that both fighters have taken a different path in terms of action leading up to Saturday. It’s been about 17 months since Lee (18-6) last entered the octagon and things didn’t go so well. He lost to Charles Oliveira via submission, his third setback in four fights. Meanwhile, Rodriguez is making his sixth trip inside the octagon since Lee last fought and has won his last two bouts. Taking time off after dropping four of his last six fights, Lee is healthy and focused on his return. He’s always had championship ability and he will show that against a lesser opponent.
UFC Prediction: Kevin Lee / (T)KO 2nd Round