UFC on ESPN 32: Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions

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UFC on ESPN 32: Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions & Results

Pintsized Background

What a main event to kick off the year! Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze are two of the finest strikers in the UFC and a clash of styles that promises a fine highlights package. Kattar vs Chikadze isn’t the only entertainment on Saturday night, however, we also have a sloppy Heavyweight brawl!

Failed to catch last weekend’s action? No worries, we have you covered:
PI’s Preview: UFC Fight Night 199: Lewis vs Daukaus.
PI’s Recommended Fight: Gerald Meerschaert vs Dustin Stoltzfus.

Unconvinced by Pintsized’s mystical predicting powers? Take a look at our prediction success last month detailed in UFC Predictions Results: December 2021.

Will Katlyn Chookagian be able to repeat victory over Jennifer Maia once again? | Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions
Will Katlyn Chookagian be able to repeat victory over Jennifer Maia once again? | Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions

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Kattar vs Chikadze: Main Event

Calvin Kattar (22-5) vs Giga Chikadze (14-2)

Featherweight (145)

Calvin Kattar

Just how much lasting damage will be on show on Saturday night? It has been a full year of recovery for Kattar since his five-round beating at the hands of Max Holloway. It was a painful out-classing that should have been stopped by his corner around the mid-point. Technically, Kattar could trade with Holloway, but the athletic mountain was far too great to climb/match for twenty-five minutes. It is a potential physical and mental breaking point.

Importantly, however, Kattar’s chin never ‘broke’ under Holloway’s pressure or volume. Kattar’s famed durability stood once again under considerable duress, undoubtedly a comfort being facing a slick kickboxer who has recently found his knockout power. Additionally, Kattar’s gas tank is clearly proven with consistent output in the championship rounds.

The major issue with Kattar is his tendency to take the early rounds off to make reads on his opponent. Chikadze isn’t a Lomachenko-level matrix, but he is awkward enough to force Kattar into low output in the first two rounds. Kattar’s preference to parry with extended hands leaves his body wide open to Giga’s famous liver kick.

Giga Chikadze

Is Giga legit? Well, legitimate on the feet at least. The UFC seems to want to protect their prospective cash cow, hiding the thirty-three-year-old away from any fighter with any hint of wrestling prowess. Of course, based on his fights already, Giga’s exceptional timing is clear. The vastly experienced kickboxer isn’t a technical freak, but instead an unorthodox striker with the natural power and speed to clean out anyone at 145lbs. 

Much of the credit to Chikadze’s success is based on his liver kick. It is the rushing boxing flurries, spinning attacks and overly telegraphed feints that create the vacuum for the liver kick, however. If Kattar decides to threaten with a takedown early, it starts to create questions for Giga. Not only is the Georgian’s gas tank an unknown entity, but Kattar’s underrated ground and pound could force Chikadze into less expansive attacks on the feet.

Barboza was able to pressure Chikadze against the cage from the opening round. This was the clearest sign that Chikadze isn’t the greatest game planner. While his stoppage victory over Barboza is a decent scalp, the Brazilian is well-weathered from a career of wars. If Chikadze doesn’t immediately push Kattar from the opening bell, he is allowing the American to make earlier reads and open into his boxing.

Predicted Result: Kattar Decision

It has been a full year of recovery for Kattar since his five-round beating at the hands of Max Holloway. Importantly, Kattar’s chin never ‘broke’ under the pressure or volume. Kattar’s durability and proven gas tank are the main strengths that I’m favouring.

That isn’t to say that Chikadze doesn’t hold the natural power to stop Kattar. The American’s preference to parry with extended hands leaves his body wide open to Giga’s famous liver kick. Chikadze isn’t an elite game-planner, however. He is a reactive striker with exceptional timing based on his extensive kickboxing background.

Chikadze must be favoured in this bout. He is the man on the roll and Kattar tends to drift during the opening rounds. Kattar’s incredible chin continues to draw me back in, however, and his underrated ground and pound could score 10-8 rounds against a tiring Giga.

Result: Kattar def. Chikadze // Decision (unanimous – 50-45, 50-45, 50-44)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Can Giga Chikadze transfer his fine form of 2021 over to the new year? | Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions
Can Giga Chikadze transfer his fine form of 2021 over to the new year? | Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions

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Kattar vs Chikadze: Co-Main Event

Chase Sherman (15-8) vs Jake Collier (12-6)

Heavyweight (265)

Chase Sherman

The nature of Sherman’s loss to Parker Porter leaves it very hard to back the Vanilla Gorilla. Sherman is one of the slicker counter-punchers amongst unranked Heavyweights (while his gas tank allows), but Collier’s volume and pressure could emulate Porter’s success last time out. Sherman’s heavy leg kicks could leave a dent in Collier’s momentum. Unfortunately, Sherman’s gas tank is too difficult to back. Laboured breathing was caught on the microphones after TWO MINUTES into the Porter fight.

Jake Collier

Despite the dramatic rise to Heavyweight, Collier has somewhat proven that he can athletically handle the 265lb division. Regular volume and creativity patch over his lack of power or durability to succeed at Heavyweight. Particularly cool is Collier’s lead hook that is thrown with the motion of a jab. Carlos Felipe was bamboozled throughout the fifteen minutes, regularly slipping directly into the hook after anticipating the jab.

Predicted Result: Collier Decision

Sherman could end this in the first round, after all, Collier is anything but a natural Heavyweight. Despite the blow-up in weight, however, Collier has proven himself athletically capable of surviving at 265lb. Sherman has the power and eye for a counter to catch Collier wading in recklessly, but only for the first round. Unfortunately, Sherman’s gas tank is too difficult to back – struggling to catch his breath just two minutes into the Porter fight.

Result: Collier def. Sherman // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 1 2:26

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Poor Chase Sherman doesn't look like he fancies it anymore | Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions
Poor Chase Sherman doesn’t look like he fancies it anymore | Kattar vs Chikadze Predictions

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Kattar vs Chikadze: Main Card

Brandon Royval (12-6) vs Rogerio Bontorin (17-3)

Flyweight (125)

Brandon Royval

I really love the approach that Brandon Royval brings to the octagon. Since his late call-up during peak COVID times, Royval has set about his business with crazy aggression on the feet and mat. Raw Dawgs’ high-octane scrambles will create an opportunity for Bontorin to latch onto his famous back-snatches, but the Brazilian also has to be careful to avoid an array of spinning attacks. Royval thrives in the chaos of a disjointed war and Bontorin’s willingness to test himself in every area of a fight will play into Royval’s hands.

Rogerio Bontorin

The Brazilian is well-equipped to thrive in the chaos, but ideally, Bontorin will sweep Royval and hold him on the mat. There is no need to test himself on the feet against Royval’s frightening power and instead, gas out Royval with a sweltering top game. The nature of Kai Kara-France’s knockout over Bontorin, however, is worrying as the Brazilian was knocked out off the back of one flash exchange. Royval is very much the style of fighter who can capitalise in a short window of opportunity.

Predicted Result: Royval Submission Round 1

Royval thrives in the chaos of a disjointed war and Bontorin’s willingness to test himself in every area of a fight will play into Royval’s hands. If Bontorin were a smart fighter, he would grind out a decision on the mat with well-timed takedowns during the frequent opportunities that Royval offers when throwing spinning attacks. Unfortunately, Bontorin rarely dictates the terms of a fight himself.

Result: Royval def. Bontorin // Decision (split – 28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Katlyn Chookagian (16-4) vs Jennifer Maia (19-7-1)

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Katlyn Chookagian

Wonderful, a rematch of their dreadfully dull affair two years ago. Chookagian is a fighter who knows her limitations. Well-drilled and fundamentally sound, Chookagian doesn’t sit into her punches – avoiding the risks in favour of high-output and avoiding damage. Maia’s slow, lumbering striking was ill-equipped to beat Chookagian in 2019, neither lady has developed their tools to an extent where a repeat is anything other than expected.

Jennifer Maia

Did you know that Jeniffer Maia snatched a round from Valentina Shevchenko?! If anything, the promotion of that fact line highlights the sorry state of the division. The Brazilian is a tough cookie who will continue to walk down whoever is in front of her, yet unless Chookagian suffers a mental lapse, Maia has no tools to cut off the octagon. A lack of a consistent wrestling game leaves Maia unable to unleash her powerful grappling.

Predicted Result: Chookagian Decision

Chookagian is a fighter who knows her limitations. Well-drilled and fundamentally sound, Chookagian doesn’t sit into her punches – avoiding the risks in favour of high-output and avoiding damage. Maia’s slow, lumbering striking was ill-equipped to beat Chookagian in 2019, neither lady has developed their tools to an extent where a repeat is anything other than expected. The Brazilian is a tough cookie, however, and there is always the potential of a Chookagian mental lapse allowing Maia an avenue into a grappling fight. This is Women’s Flyweight after all.

Result: Chookagian def. Maia // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Dakota Bush (8-3) vs Vlacheslav Borshchev (5-1)

Lightweight (155)

Dakota Bush

Bush is a wild boxer who far prefers sitting at distance with his expansive kicking arsenal. Not only does this burn the gas tank rapidly, but it is also Bush’s main entry into his grappling. Austin Hubbard regularly checked Bushs’ leg kick before closing the distance and leaving Bush awkwardly stranded in short, lopsided boxing exchanges. Borshchev can offer the same look but with far more potent power and less willingness to disengage/reset.

Vlacheslav Borshchev

For a Team Alpha Male fighter, Borschev doesn’t appear to be the most competent wrestler. Instead, Borschev is a herky-jerky striker that bounces laterally from the opening bell. The awkward movement draws opponents into looping shots in an attempt to catch Borshchev, but often leaves them tangled and primed for hard counters. The takedown defence will have to be ironed out over the coming years, but Borshchev’s striking is wonderful to watch.

Predicted Result: Borschev TKO Round 1

This is a case of heart overruling brain. Bush is a dominant grappler, Borschev showed worryingly leaky takedown defence in the DWCS, it’s a simple formula that has played out so often at the unranked level. Borschev’s herky-jerky movement and powerful counter-punching leave me rooting for the Russian, however. Bush’s kicking arsenal is impressive, but his boxing leaves a lot to be desired and he can easily be pressured to the fence.

Result: Borschev def. Bush // TKO (body punch) Round 1 3:47

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Joanderson Brito (12-2-1) vs Bill Algeo (14-6)

Featherweight (145)

Joanderson Brito

A wild prospect who succeeds based on high-paced openings that allow him to control the fight. Head down hooks and high kicks allowed Brito to secure several finishes at the regional level, however, the flaws of the style were clear in the DWCS step-up in quality. Of course, the Brazilian has his wrestling to fall back upon, but there isn’t much fluidity or conscious process when Brito takes top control. Algeo is more than savvy enough off his back to return to his feet.

Bill Algeo

Durability sometimes wins fights. Out-lasting an opponent and exposing them down the stretch is a tried and tested tactic. Brito’s powerful and flashy striking will struggle to crack Algeo’s chin that has held up to Spike Carlyle, Ricardo Lamas and Shane Burgos. Algeo does struggle to keep himself off the mat, but Brito hasn’t yet shown the ability to hold down a fighter of Algeo’s BJJ quality. The American will be more than happy to sacrifice the first round before steaming ahead against a tiring Brito in the second and third.

Predicted Result: Algeo Decision

Brito’s powerful and flashy striking will struggle to crack Algeo’s chin that has held up to Spike Carlyle, Ricardo Lamas and Shane Burgos. Algeo does struggle to keep himself off the mat, but Brito hasn’t yet shown the ability to hold down a fighter of Algeo’s BJJ quality. Expect a debatable split decision as the American slowly emerges into the contest as Brito tires down the stretch.

Result: Algeo def. Brito // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

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Kattar vs Chikadze: Preliminary Card

Jamie Pickett (12-6) vs Joseph Holmes (7-1)

Middleweight (185)

Jamie Pickett

As the more experienced fighter, Pickett is a fairly underrated fighter considering his tools. A superb athlete with a decent chin, Pickett isn’t willing to take risks as evidenced by Pickett’s willingness to grapple with the smaller Laureano Staropoli. Pickett can dig deep, however, when called upon – Tafon Nchukwi wasn’t able to clean out Pickett in what many felt was a squash match. If the Night Wolf lands early, which is expected as the sharper striker, Holmes will be less willing to close the distance and get inside to unleash his ugly clinch game.

Joseph Holmes

Holmes striking is based on the belief that he will always be the taller, rangier fighter. Long, telegraphed, single-shots that leave Holmes flat-footed, Holmes will be primed for counters from Pickett. Likewise, whenever Holmes enters into combinations, his chin immediately raises towards the roof. Worst of all, Holmes takedown defence is extremely leaky – allowing Pickett an avenue to a safer victory than trading on the feet. The grappling battle on the mat is fairly equal, but it won’t be pretty viewing.

Predicted Result: Pickett TKO Round 3

If the Night Wolf lands early, which is expected as the sharper striker, Holmes will be less willing to close the distance from where he can unleash his gruelling, if ugly, clinch work. Holmes’ long, telegraphed, single-shots on the feet leave him flat-footed and primed for Pickett counters. Worst of all, Holmes takedown defence is extremely leaky – allowing Pickett an avenue to a safer victory than trading on the feet. The grappling battle on the mat is fairly equal, but it won’t be pretty viewing.

Result: Pickett def. Holmes // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

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Ramiz Brahimaj (9-3) vs Court McGee (20-10)

Welterweight (170)

Ramiz Brahimaj

Brahimaj is a very slick submission artist, but it seems foolish to bet against McGee’s submission defence. The Bronx fighter undoubtedly can get McGee to the mat early in the first round, but there is a real fear that Brahimaj burns the gas tank chasing the finish early. On the feet, Griffin exposed Brahimaj’s lack of quality. Far too patient behind a high guard, Brahimaj is limited to forward flurries of 2-3 shots. McGee will pepper away with body kicks when Brahimaj backs up to reset.

Court McGee

McGee’s cardio and grappling have never been in question. Unfortunately, the wrestling has been devoid in the past few years – leaving McGee stranded on the feet and in far closer contests. Brahimaj is a submission specialist, but McGee has an insane submission defence – to the point where only Father Time could be to blame for a McGee submission loss. Brahimaj could easily burn himself out chasing early takedowns, with McGee’s old-manning the tiring prospect in the later rounds.

Predicted Result: McGee Decision

Brahimaj is a very slick submission artist, but it seems foolish to bet against McGee’s submission defence. The Bronx fighter undoubtedly can get McGee to the mat early in the first round, but there is a real fear that Brahimaj burns the gas tank chasing the finish. McGee’s cardio is legendary and will be able to pepper Brahimaj on the feet who spends long portions of the fight standing at range behind a high guard.

Result: McGee def. Brahimaj // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Brian Kelleher (23-12) vs Kevin Croom (21-13)

Featherweight (145)

Brian Kelleher

Mr stay busy, Brian Kelleher is once again tasked with gate-keeping, yet this time it is for Croom’s survival in the UFC. Worryingly, Kelleher is moving up to Featherweight at the last minute after Kakhramonov pulled out. Croom is a gigantic Featherweight and will present a real issue to take down. Moreover, Kelleher will struggle to find the submission on the lanky submission artist. With far crisper hands, Kelleher can pull ahead against Croom who will flag during the later rounds (following a late weight cut).

Kevin Croom

Croom is a furiously aggressive fighter who looks to suffocate an opponent’s space and search for grappling exchanges. Weak wrestling is unlikely to threaten Kelleher, even with the size disadvantage, but Croom can certainly threaten with submissions if the fight falls to the mat. Croom’s risk-taking has seen him regularly on the wrong side of a submission finish, however, and Kelleher’s gas tank can punish the late replacement.

Predicted Result: Kelleher Submission Round 3

Croom is a furiously aggressive fighter who looks to suffocate an opponent’s space and search for grappling exchanges. Weak wrestling is unlikely to threaten Kelleher, even with the size disadvantage, while the risk-taking could see Kelleher punish the late replacement. Additionally, Kelleher’s crisper hands will find regular counters as Croom walks on to punishment.

Result: Kelleher def. Croom // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Return to Fight Card


TJ Brown (15-8) vs Charles Rosa (14-6)

Featherweight (145)

TJ Brown

Forgoing defence, Brown takes huge risks in the pursuit of landing consistently. Without the durability to support his all-out offence approach, Brown will be less likely punished by Rosa’s feather fists. Sitting down hard into his power shots, Brown could stylistically meet an opponent who cannot punish him. Browns’ grappling off the back is alright, but on the same hand, Rosa’s submission offence is overrated.

Charles Rosa

A last-minute replacement, Rosa has made a career off beating flawed opponents such as TJ Brown. Unfortunately for Rosa, he never makes it easy, often willingly reaching the scorecards and never putting to be his opponents. While Rosa has a clear grappling advantage, his wrestling inefficiencies will leave this affair standing for the majority. Rosa is a sharp-ish kickboxer on the outside, but Browns’ volume and power will catch the judges eyes.

Predicted Result: Brown Decision

A last-minute replacement, Rosa has made a career off beating flawed opponents such as TJ Brown. While Rosa has a clear grappling advantage, his wrestling inefficiencies will leave this affair standing for the majority. Rosa is a sharp-ish kickboxer on the outside, but Browns’ volume and power will catch the judges eyes. Of course, Brown’s chin is made of paper, but Rosa isn’t the fighter to punish this.

Result: Brown def. Rosa // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Return to Fight Card


Prediction Accuracy

UFC on ESPN 32

Winner: 10/10

Method: 6/10

Round: 6/10

2022 MMA Season

Winner: 10/10

Method: 6/10

Round: 6/10

MMA Overall

Winner: 506/802

Method: 369/802

Round: 331/802

Takeaway comments: Long live Calvin Kattar’s chopping elbows.


TIPPING JAR

Pintsized Interests is just a baby finding its first steps in the big, bad world of sports journalism. If you enjoy the content that is regularly uploaded then please consider donating via the link below. Any amount is greatly appreciated, and will go towards ensuring the survival of Pintsized Interests in the long-term.


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