MAFB: UFC on ESPN 32 Kattar vs Chikadze Review
UFC on ESPN 32 didn’t exactly bend over backwards to produce magic fights to break down. Granted, COVID and weight issues caused several top fights to be rescheduled, but match-makers knew the potential for a stinker with the likes of Katlyn Chookagian and Jamie Pickett featuring. Kattar vs Chikadze takes the main focus of our event review, but we will also look at the depressing one-round shenanigans between Jake Collier and Chase Sherman.
Calvin Kattar vs Giga Chikadze
Kattar def. Chikadze // Decision (unanimous – 50-45, 50-45, 50-44)
Let’s clear up the biggest elephant in the room. Giga Chikadze was NOT shut out by Calvin Katter, there is a strong argument that the Georgian snatched the second round. What did go down in the UFC Apex octagon, however, was a humbling of a major kind. Spending his time in the media week by laying claim to Volkanovski’s Featherweight title, Chikadze offered no respect to an opponent who was coming off a career beating. How ironic this sport can be at times.
Kattar total domination on the mat in the opening round had been an area of the fight that many had acknowledged, but not put much stock into in their pre-fight analysis. There was too little tape on Kattar’s offensive wrestling and grappling to truly believe he had the tools to threaten Chikadze’s limited yet functional TDD.
Quick shout-out to Scott Fontana, the featured tweet who argued that Chikadze’s striking was more effective than Kattar’s grappling..? So even if we ignore the three minutes of ground control that Kattar clocked up, the American also poured out greater volume (17/23 total strikes compared to 9/20).
Chikadze clawed back the second round by showing an impressive ability to adapt to Kattar’s overwhelming pressure. Switching stances whilst moving laterally, the constant motion left Kattar awkwardly sitting long jabs that failed to land. With Kattar planted, Chikadze was able to burst in with short 2-3 shot combinations before darting out the side again. Unfortunately for Chikadze, moving constantly on the back-foot is a gruelling process and left him without much in the tank for the championship rounds.
Kattar’s most eye-catching work was a plethora of spinning elbows that he threw liberally throughout the rounds. Often using an extended hand to yank Chikadze’s head down, Kattar forced Chikadze to start to slip whenever he saw the American opening into a straight shot or feint. With Giga’s hands low and lateral slips now telegraphed, Kattar limited the risk of his powerful intercepting elbows.
Calvin Kattar Analysis and Future
A hell of a way to put to bed the demons and doubters from the Holloway beating. Calvin Kattar is back on the Featherweight map. With TKZ earning the next shot at Volkanovski’s belt, it leaves Kattar with two clear options. Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez have both seen the wind behind their sails stop suddenly. Any match-up between the three fighters would provide an epic main event that will put bums on seats.
Giga Chikadze Analysis and Future
Hype can blind fans and analysts to a fighter’s flaws. The Georgian hasn’t degraded suddenly, rather, too much weight was placed behind the finishes from his last fights. Cub Swanson is a rugged veteran but is well into the twilight of his career whilst Chikadze’s decision to back himself against the fence versus Edson Barboza highlighted critical game-planning flaws. If the UFC, as expected, wants to repair their cash cow, a striking only match-up with Shane Burgos is a favourable match-up and highlight-reel prospect.
Jake Collier vs Chase Sherman
Collier def. Sherman // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 2:26
Blown-up Middleweight, Jake Collier, is starting to carve out a decent name for himself at Heavyweight. While the dramatic weight transformation is still a concern, his style is entertaining to watch in a sloppy division.
Wading in from the opening bell, Collier dips into looping hooks and beat opponents based on speed in the pocket. A flustered Sherman was unable to maintain a comfortable distance, sitting gunshy behind a high guard. It almost took no effort for Collier to bowl over the much larger, natural Heavyweight and jump straight into full mount.
A couple of powerful elbows was enough for Sherman. The once-hot prospect opted to flip onto his back and offer up an easy rear-naked choke. The dejected figure sat against the cage illustrating a fighter whose spark has long since left.
Jake Collier Analysis and Future
Ideally, I’d like to see Collier lose the excess timber and move down to a more comfortable weight class. Speed is a solid weapon at 265lbs, but his power will struggle to trouble anyone in the top-30. A match-up with Alan Baudot would offer both men a match-up between two blown-up Heavyweights.
Chase Sherman Analysis and Future
Jake Collier represents one of the easiest tune-ups on the Heavyweight roster. Such a dreadful performance suggests a mental break that is not worth the UFC’s time to overcome – few people buy tickets to see Sherman in action. It’s a shame as Sherman showed wonderful improvements to his counter-striking against Ike Villanueva, but Arlovski is the gatekeeper for a reason. Josh Parisian should truly be the BOTTOM of the UFC barrel as a loser leaves the organisation.
Brandon Royval. Twenty-nine at Flyweight isn’t young, but there aren’t many miles on Royval’s body.
Court McGee. Just what fuels the old man’s gas tank?
Surprise of the Night
Kattar def. Chikadze. The dominance of the performance, coming off the back of a brutal beating one year prior, shocked the odds.
Fight of the Night
Kattar def. Chikadze. The only fight that the commentary team didn’t have to fake enthusiasm.
Finish of the Night
Borshchev TKO. Bush. A brutal hook to the liver that left Dakota Bush crumpled on the mat.
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