Barboza, the No. 9-ranked featherweight in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings, finds himself on the cusp of contention again, this time at 145 pounds. The former lightweight standout has won two straight fights and a third could put him into serious talks to face a top-5 opponent next.
On the other side of the octagon is Chikadze (12), a kickboxing expert who has won his first six fights in the UFC. After earning four straight decisions, Chikadze has scored consecutive first-round finishes with his most recent win being a TKO of longtime featherweight contender Cub Swanson.
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Round 1: They start off kicking at each other’s legs right away. Barboza holding center as Chikadze circles. Chikadze flicks out a jab. Barboza blocks a high kick, but Chikadze sneaks in a straight right. Chikadze just misses a jumping knee. Inside leg kick lands for Barboza. Barboza checking body kicks. He lands a counter and Chikadze momentarily slips. Hard kick to the body by Barboza. Barboza with a body kick, he follows with a right and looks to flurry, Barboza has his defenses high. Another hard body kick connects for Chikadze as he walks Barboza down. Good first round for both fighters.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Chikadze.
Round 2: Chikadze maintaining distance with a jab and a straight kick to the body. He looks a touch quicker so far. They exchange jabs. Chikadze chips away with a pair of outside leg kicks. Glancing left over the top for Chikadze. He drops his hands and is looking confident. He throws a combination, but Barboza counters with a fast left hand. Hard calf kick by Barboza. Chikadze head kick just misses the mark. Barboza rips one to the body. He’s targeting that area. Clean jab by Chikadze as he circles away. Calf kick by Barboza lands again. There’s another exchange of jabs with a minute remaining. Chikadze staying evasive.
MMA Fighting scores the round 10-9 Barboza. Overall, 19-19.
Round 3: Barboza with a jab, Chikadze answers with a low kick. He presses forward and has Barboza off-balance, stiff left lands for Chikadze. He’s in pursuit, he wants a finish. Right hand to the chin and Barboza is wobbled. He drops to his back as Chikadze chases him. Chikadze looking for ground-and-pound. Anaconda choke attempt by Chikadze. He gives it up and goes back throwing hands as Barboza stands up. Barboza is staggered, he looks dazed. Referee Jason Herzog waves this one off.
Official result: Giga Chikadze def. Edson Barboza via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 1:44