UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Chikadze Preview

Finally the UFC returns to our screens after taking the holiday season off. The first main event of 2022 is a cracking featherweight contest between Calvin Katter and Georgian sensation Giga Chikadze. Katlyn Chookagian and Jennifer Maia will clash in the evening’s co-main event on Saturday January 15th at the UFC Apex.

Calvin Katter is coming into this fight after a disappointing performance against Max Holloway in his last outing. Katter, known for his explosive boxing, was outclassed by the former 145-pound champ almost one-year ago. “The Boston Finisher” goes out of the frying pan and into the fire as he steps in to faceoff against Giga Chikadze. The Georgian stand-up specialist is riding the crest of a wave of an impressive win streak having finished Jamey Simmons, Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza in his last three bouts.

I would expect this fight to play out of the feet, we have seen some weakness in the grappling department from Giga in the past, I curious to see if Katter will initiate some grappling. Katter does have some vicious power in his hands but you have to feel that his opponent is the more dangerous striker. What makes Chikadze so dangerous is his kicking game, more so his ability to land his signature liver kick which has devastated many of his rivals in the kickboxing world and in past MMA fights. A win here for Chikadze should insert him firmly in the title picture, Katter will have something to say about that, I’m sure, he will certainly be coming into this contest with a point to prove. I’m really excited for this main event, it’s a real doozy to get us started off for 2022 and I can’t wait to see how this fight unfolds.

In the co-main event, Katlyn Chookagian will be looking to make it three wins in a row when she steps in to take on Jennifer Maia in the women’s flyweight division. Chookagian was beaten easily by Jéssica Andrade in 2020 but quickly responded with two wins over Cynthia Calvillo and Viviane Araujo. Maia fought her way into a title shot but she fell short on the judges scorecards in her fight with champion Valentina Shevchenko. Maia got back into the win column in July of last year when she earned a unanimous decision win over Jessica Eye at UFC 264.

In men’s flyweight action, Brandon Royval and Rogério Bontorin will lock horns in what is expected to be a fiercely contested encounter. Royval will be eager to snap a two-fight losing streak, the Denver Colorado man was finished in recent bouts with Brandon Moreno and Alexandre Pantoja and will not want to go three fights without a win. After a disappointing defeat by the hands of Kai-Kara France, Bontorin picked up a good win against Matt Schnell in his last trip to the octagon. Flyweight action is always fun to watch and this division has gotten red hot over the last year and I expect that this will be a high level battle.

Jake Collier goes toe-to-toe with Chase Sherman in the heavyweight division, Collier has picked up four wins since his entry into the UFC but has not been able to put together a win streak. He lost a close split decision to Carlos Felipe in his last outing and will see this asa big oppertunity to get his fifth win inside the octagon against an experienced opposition. Sherman got his second stint under the UFC banner off to a flyer after picking up a knockout win over Ike Villanueva. He has let that good form slip recently with losses against former champion Andrei Arlovski and Parker Porter both results which left him without a win in 2021. Bill Algeo and Joanderson Brito are donned with the task of opening up the main card, they will come to blows in the featherweight division.

Court McGee snapped a three-fight losing skid when he defeated Claudio Silva in May of last year. The UFC veteran takes on Ramiz Brahimaj in a welterweight clash. Brahimaj is coming off a superb submission win over Sasha Palatnikov and will be eager to keep himself in the winners circle. TJ Brown got the nod on the judges scorecards when he defeated Kai Kamaka III in his only fight of 2021. His opponent, Gabriel Benítez, lost his only fight last year when he was finished by Billy Quarantillo in the third round of their featherweight battle.

Dakota Bush is in search of his first UFC win after tasting defeat on his promotional debut. He will welcome Viacheslav Borshchev into the lightweight ranks, the Russian was awarded a UFC contract after his impressive win over Chris Duncan in the Contender Series last October. Brian “Boom” Kelleher has a tough opponent in Saidyokub Kakhramonov, both fighters will lock horns in the bantamweight division. Kakhramonov, who was born in Uzbekistan, has finished all three of his last fights and submitted Trevin Jones on his UFC debut. Kelleher got a unanimous decision win when he took on Domingo Pilarte last August. A women’s strawweight encounter will get us started on the night as Silvana Gomez Juarez goes up against Vanessa Demopoulos.

Main Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, 9pm GMT)

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

Women’s Flyweight: Katlyn Chookagian (16-4) vs. Jennifer Maia (19-7-1)

Flyweight: Brandon Royval (12-6) vs. Rogério Bontorin (17-3)

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

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

Preliminary Card (BT Sports / ESPN+, 12pm GMT)

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

Featherweight: Gabriel Benítez (22-9) vs. T.J. Brown (15-8)

Lightweight: Dakota Bush (8-3) vs. Viacheslav Borshchev (5-1)

Bantamweight: Brian Kelleher (23-12) vs. Saidyokub Kakhramonov (9-2)

Women’s Strawweight: Silvana Gomez Juarez (10-3) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (6-4)

Ian O'Neill is the host of the SevereMMA UFC Preview show and one of the co-hosts of The Auld Triangle - Irish MMA podcast. You can find more of Ian's work on the SevereMMA Patreon where he co-hosts The Chasing Pack and The Contender. Follow him on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma

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