UFC Vegas 46 kicked off the UFC 2022 main event calendar with a classic that saw Calvin Kattar implementing his game plan to perfection to win a Unanimous Decision (50-45, 50-45 and 50-44) over surging contender Giga Chikadze from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Kattar, at time, looked like he could have got the finish but Chikadze’s toughness managed to carry his battered body to the final horn.
As the fight began, Chikadze went to work on the feet keeping Kattar at a distance until an untimely slip lead to Kattar getting a bodylock takedown. Chikadze ended the round with around three minutes of control time on the ground, drowning the Georgian fighter, forcing him to carry his weight. The following four rounds were anything but a grappling match as Kattar’s non-stop pressure led to some fiery exchanges between the two featherweight contenders. The few times that Chikadze moved forward and stifled Kattar’s pressure, he found success with big power shots. Yet, no shot seemed to faze Kattar and by the end of the fifth round, Chikadze’s face was a bloody mess. In the final 10 seconds, Chikadze seemed to succumb to the punishment as the final horn sounded. Following the fight, Kattar reminded viewers at home that “as long as you believe in yourself that’s all that matters.”
A fascinating point mentioned by Michael “The Count” Bisping on commentary is that Kattar’s brutal pressure and output was extremely reminiscent of Kattar’s fight with Max Holloway last January in which Kattar was on the receiving end of the beating in that fight, while at UFC Vegas 46, he was the one implementing his fight to perfection. While tonight was Kattar’s night, Giga Chikadze will likely only become better after this fight. The next fight for both fighters will be important for their futures in one of the UFC’s most stacked weight classes, Kattar will likely fight Brian Ortega next after the latter’s failed attempt at taking 145 Pound King Alexander Volkanovski’s championship at UFC 266. Chikadze’s next opponent is less obvious, but Bodyslam will keep you as up-to-date as possible.