The UFC is wanting to hit a grand slam with their final PPV card of 2023 and boy are they doing it. The card was already stacked to begin with and today, we learned of another absolute banger that’s being added to the card. Per a press release, former interim title challenger Josh Emmett (18-4) will be taking on top contender Giga Chikadze (15-3).
This fight pairs together the sixth and eighth ranked featherweight contenders at UFC 296 which goes down on December 16th in Las Vegas. For Chikadze, this fight gives him the opportunity to jump right back near the top five and ultimately title contention.
After losing his fight on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2018, Chikadze won two fights by first round finish on the regional scene. After that, the UFC brought him in and he didn’t disappoint. Chikadze won his first seven fights including TKO wins over Edson Barboza, Cub Swanson, and Jeremy Stephens.
Following those three wins, Chikadze had a headliner against Calvin Kattar in January 2022. Had he won that fight, he would’ve likely earned himself a title shot. However, he was dominated by Kattar and didn’t fight fight again until August of this year when he took on Alex Caceres. Chikadze bounced back well with a decision win.
Last June, Josh Emmett headlined a card against Calvin Kattar. Kattar was coming off that massive dominant win over Giga Chikadze. Emmett entered that bout having won four straight fights. The fight was razor close, but Emmett got the decision win which ultimately earned him an interim title shot.
At UFC 284 in February, he took on Yair Rodriguez for that interim title. Unfortunately, Emmett never got going and was ultimately submitted in the second round. Following that loss, Emmett was booked against top contender Ilia Topuria in a main event back in June.
Topuria completely dominated Emmett in a lopsided win. Now, Emmett is on a two-fight losing streak and is facing an insanely dangerous opponent at UFC 296 in December. At 38, this is a bit of do-or-die fight for Josh Emmett. If he wins, he’s right back on track and only a win or two away from real title contention. However, a third straight loss might have him thinking about the end.