Expert picks and predictions: Calvin Kattar boxes and Giga Chikadze kicks — who'll find his range?

The first major UFC event of 2022 is to fight a major battle in the region of 145 pounds, e.g. Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze looking to boost their featherweight title hopes.

Kattar (22-5) did not hit for nearly a year exactly. “The Boston Finisher” had a difficult night in the office in January 2021, when he failed. Max Holloway through one sentence. The 33-year-old contestant has had plenty of time to rest and recover, and is looking forward to uttering a statement against one of the club’s most prolific fighters.

Chikadze (14-2) is looking at all sides of the opposition. He is 7-0 in the UFC, having finished Edson Barboza and Son Swanson in his last two trips.

Who has the limits for this great race? ESPN consulted a number of experts about their disadvantages and their choices.

Editor’s note: Answers have been changed to be concise and clear.

James Krause, GLORY MMA coach and UFC welterweight

Kattar’s success: Kattar is an ordinary boxer. He has good power in his hands, and he is very tough. I feel like he has to move in, try it. The UFC has been similar to Giga and other players. This is MMA, dad. You need to go in and see, check the dude’s security. Is it as good as it gets? I could see. Giga comes from behind kickboxing, and often these guys are not good at the hospital. I think this hospital might be important for Kattar.

How Chikadze wins: He is the fastest runner in the world. Hitting the body kicks increases, and he has had some very high-profile players. When it comes to professional kickboxing, he has a chance – I mean, he has a kick that was mentioned later. He should be able to remain in the push team, however.

X factor: Type.

Predictability: He is too close to call me.

Marc Montoya, Factory X instructor

Kattar’s success: Calvin is a boxing champion. They will want to force Chikadze. Be part of the boxing team, watch this fight come on, possibly threatening to be removed. And various wars. Can Calvin keep it in the box and fight halfway, or can Giga keep it away? Calvin needs to get Kadze backwards and he has to get back in the middle of the barn. He should keep Chikadze on his back leg and make him feel the pressure of the cage. It is not wise to kick against the goads because you have no place to go. It opens you up to the downside, so that’s when Calvin’s punch can be helpful, as he has Giga’s back to the fold.

How Chikadze wins: His impressive performances outside of the UFC are rewarding. I think you will see him when he finds a house where those kicks are either adding or ending a fight with one of those kicks. He is skilled at kicking ass and then trying to punch, throwing punches after what his opponents have done. Then finish that combination and push. He’s very good at it.

X factor: Power. For a year Calvin did not take up arms. Where is the mind? Giga is on the roll right now. This could be the X factor.

Predictability: I think Kattar beats him. He does a good job of cutting the ring and using the fight to help him win. Competitively, Kattar has also fought at a high level.

John Wood, MMA Syndicate instructor

Kattar’s success: Calvin has a very good punch. He has to watch the boxing match and stay away from the boxers. He has to be sharp and able to deal with pushing, getting in, making a fuss. His boxing game is a very sharp weapon, and I would lean on it a lot. Released by Max Holloway, but Max is a different animal. Max is one of the best fighters in MMA. If I were Calvin, I would probably try to push in the hospital and try to pollute the box. But so far, not many have done well with this and Giga expects that.

How Chikadze wins: This is his most difficult test for sure. The boy is an amazing fighter. We’ve never seen him so much on the floor, and probably because of his defensive removal. Its design and traps, the things it does, are in the elite category when it comes to fighting. His push, distance and flexibility are what win him in this battle.

X factor: This is Calvin’s first battle since Holloway. That was a cruel, brutal fight. These are sometimes fights that can change people. Now, Calvin is obviously the toughest – but it will be interesting to see how he comes back from there.

Predictability: Chikadze by decision.

Eric Nicksick, Xtreme Couture coach

Kattar’s success: Bones, lateral movements. Knowing where Giga runs most of the time, knowing when he goes down south of the paw he often looks at the open push of the body. I think Calvin does not have the ability to fight back. If you crush both guys, I think Calvin has to fight some time because it would take Giga games, if he could win. If he can throw in a little bit and get fired, even a little bit, I think Calvin should get into the evil box that this guy is fighting for the cage.

How Chikadze wins: The obvious answer is his strike, but it is important that we explain in detail what makes his kicking game so successful – and I think that is how he came from and how he got his body. It has no loopy rotation for it, it is a kind of stabbing that rotates at the end. Every push that comes out of him is the same. It’s hard to know where to place the push. He does well by putting his head, eyes and actions on his chest. You can go back to one of his first fights in the UFC: He pushed the baby on the body and hit the tape, then came back up and hit the head, and what he was looking for was self-defense statistics. That’s my main thing to him, to keep their candles.

X factor: Adjust the distance. Who keeps it at a distance that is necessary to elevate their game?

Predictability: May the best man ever succeed. I am biased. I know all these guys well and they work a little bit with Calvin. I don’t think I can decide on this.

Ian Parker, ESPN betting expert

After losing Max Holloway’s loss, Kattar returned to the fold a year later to try to get back on the winning list. He stands in his way with the top prospect Chikadze. Kattar is tough as he comes, but in a nutshell, Kadze is a tough thing for him. In order for Kattar to survive Chikadze, he had to use a strategy to fight his enemy so that he would not just think. Otherwise, I hope the war will be similar to Holloway’s war. Chikadze will be a very good player and he has the damage to follow with his shooter as an amazing idea. As long as Chikadze is able to stay away from his back, I strongly believe he will do it here.

Predictability: Chikadze wins.

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