Kattar overwhelms Chikadze in 1st UFC main event of 2022

Jeff Bottari / UFC / Getty

Featherweight contender Calvin Kattar was triumphant in a big way in his return to the Octagon.

Kattar defeated Giga Chikadze via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-44) in the first UFC main event of 2022 at Saturday's Fight Night card in Las Vegas.

Kattar and Chikadze delivered a thriller for the fans inside the UFC Apex, with Kattar growing stronger as the fight went on. He overwhelmed Chikadze with his pressure and boxing, and he hurt him with elbows and spinning strikes.

"They all counted me out this fight. Everybody," Kattar said in his postfight interview, adding: "As long as you believe in yourself, that's all that matters."

Chikadze dished out his own share of punishment to keep some of the rounds competitive, landing several kicks and tagging Kattar with punches. But Kattar was in control of the pace by the halfway mark of the fight and appeared to have more gas in the tank in the fourth and fifth rounds.

This was a huge fight for the division. Kattar and Chikadze were ranked No. 5 and No. 8, respectively, and the winner would move closer toward title contention.

"Giga was a professional. (He) showed up, did his thing, and was a great opponent for me to test my skills against and know I belong in the top of the division," Kattar said.

Kattar successfully rebounded from a historic, one-sided beatdown against former 145-pound champion Max Holloway, which took place at the first UFC event of 2021 almost exactly one year ago. He's 3-1 in his past four fights dating back to May 2020.

Chikadze, who entered as one of the division's hottest fighters, suffered his first defeat in the UFC. He broke through as a contender in 2021 with wins over Edson Barboza and Cub Swanson and was riding a nine-fight winning streak.

Kattar overwhelms Chikadze in 1st UFC main event of 2022
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