This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 35, we saw a big time showdown in the featherweight division. Two of the very best and most dynamic strikers in the promotion went head-to-head as Giga Chikadze (14-2) took on Edson Barboza (22-10).
Since moving down to 145 pounds, Edson Barboza has looked tremendous. Had it not been for poor judging, he would’ve carried a perfect record at 145 pounds into UFC Vegas 35‘s main event.
That said, Chikadze was going to be his toughest test to date. Barboza has always been known for his tremendous striking. However, this was really the first time he was going to be going up against someone that’s at a higher level.
Giga Chikadze showed just how special he is on Saturday night. Barboza has always stifled opponents with his speed and power. However, he was lacking in both of those categories compared to Chikadze on Saturday night.
Giga landed beautiful kicks throughout the first couple of rounds. He also had bursts where he was so much faster compared to Barboza. Eventually, he caught him with the shot he was looking for. In the third round, Chikadze poured it on and stopped Barboza at UFC Vegas 35.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 35?
After the fight was over, there was one name on the mind of Giga Chikadze. That name was former UFC featherweight champion and arguably the greatest featherweight in the history of the promotion, Max Holloway (22-6).
Holloway was supposed to headline a Fight Night in July against Yair Rodriguez. That bout was expected to be a UFC title eliminator, however, Holloway had to pull out of the fight with an injury.
Currently, the UFC is targeting that fight for November according to Dana White. However, Chikadze might have changed the plan. There’s no word on it yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the promotion tries to get Chikadze in that spot.
If Holloway isn’t next, Chikadze wants to be the backup fighter for the UFC 266 main event. Next month, Alexander Volkanovski will defend against Brian Ortega. If one of those guys falls out, Chikadze wants to be the backup. I could see the promotion doing that as well.
Either way, Chikadze is going to be at the very top of the UFC’s featherweight division once the new rankings come out. Don’t be surprised to see the featherweight from Georgia in a title eliminator in his next fight.