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Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze UFC Odds, Pick & Prediction: Will the Underdog Pull Off the Upset? (Saturday, January 15)

Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze UFC Odds, Pick & Prediction: Will the Underdog Pull Off the Upset? (Saturday, January 15) article feature image
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Mike Lawrie/Getty Images. Pictured: Calvin Kattar.

  • Saturday's 10-fight UFC card wraps up with a Featherweight battle between Calvin Kattar and Giga Chikadze.
  • Kattar has taken nearly a year off after a brutal loss to Max Holloway and enters this fight as the underdog.
  • Sean Zerillo breaks down the fight below and shares his top pick for Saturday's main event.

Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze Odds

Kattar Odds
+200
Chikadze Odds
-240
Over/Under
3.5 (-120 / -120)
Venue
UFC APEX
Time
9 p.m. ET
Channel
ESPN
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook. Get up-to-the-minute UFC odds here.

After nearly a one-month hiatus, the UFC returns to the APEX in Las Vegas on Saturday night for a 10-fight card, highlighted by a Featherweight main event between No. 5 contender Calvin Kattar and No. 8 ranked Giga Chikadze.

The Georgian Chikadze, a winner in each of his first seven UFC bouts, is making his second foray into a main event, following his August victory over Edson Barboza. Still, Giga has never been to a fourth-round in his professional MMA career while showing questionable cardio in three-round fights.

Saturday will mark Kattar’s third consecutive five-round fight and the fourth of his career. The Massachusetts native is 2-1 in 25-minute contests and is looking to bounce back from a brutal loss against Max Holloway nearly one year to the date, where he absorbed a record 445 significant strikes.

Can Giga continue to climb the Featherweight rankings and enter the title picture with another impressive victory, or does Kattar provide betting value as nearly a 2-1 underdog after closing nearer to a pick’em against Holloway?

Below, I’ll provide my analysis and projections for Saturday’s main event and reveal my play for Kattar vs. Chikadze.

Tale of the Tape

Kattar Chikadze
Record 22-5 14-2
Avg. Fight Time 13:31 11:21
Height 5’11” 6’0″
Weight (pounds) 145 lbs. 145 lbs.
Reach (inches) 72″ 74″
Stance Orthodox Orthodox
Date of birth 3/26/88 8/25/88
Sig Strikes Per Min 5.07 3.76
SS Accuracy 42% 45%
SS Absorbed Per Min 8.16 2.69
SS Defense 50% 61%
Take Down Avg 0.37 0.33
TD Acc 30% 33%
TD Def 89% 68%
Submission Avg 0.0 0.3

Kattar’s career metrics (-3.09 strike differential) are skewed by the Holloway fight, where he was outstruck nearly 4-1 (445-113) and potentially took a life-changing beating (274 head strikes) from the former Featherweight champion.

Kattar owned a negative strike differential going into that matchup (-0.55), but that performance will skew his stat line forever. Kattar was already considered one of the most durable fighters in the UFC, but it’s encouraging that he took a whole year off to recover from that fight — even though he was never knocked down.

Giga has superior metrics on paper — 1.07 strike differential, 105% to 92% combined accuracy (97% for Kattar before the Holloway fight) and the style to frustrate Kattar in the early stages of this fight.

Giga prefers to stay outside and utilize his kicks to all levels to control range. Overall, he’s the superior striker and should be able to control the early stages of this fight until Kattar can find ways to get inside.

The Georgian has made improvements throughout his MMA career after converting from professional kickboxing. His technique is beautiful, and he has shown killer instinct after hurting opponents despite several decisions on his career record.

And while the level of competition had been a question mark coming into his last fight with Barboza, a finish over the UFC legend is a significant feather in Giga’s cap.

While Giga ultimately outclassed Barboza in the kickboxing realm, the Brazilian looked like the far superior boxer — which means that Kattar should have an overwhelming advantage if Giga finds himself exchanging in the pocket.

And while Giga could cruise for the first 10 minutes of this fight — even at worst — until Kattar can find an opening, the slightly more intangible skills like cardio and durability should give Kattar a significant advantage in the late stages.

Even in the Barboza fight, Giga began to slow late in Round 2 and early in Round 3 before finding his finishing sequence. Kattar should have as much win equity in Rounds 4 and 5 as Giga has in Rounds 1 and 2, and a decision could come down to a tight third round.

Putting the Holloway fight aside, I would expect Kattar to be the far more durable man to the head, though Giga may certainly chop down his legs or find a liver kick to close the show.

Once the momentum of the fight swings toward Kattar on cardio — around the halfway point — he should start to put it on the Georgian and potentially rack up a 10-8 round or fight a late finish.

Giga is a significantly better hammer than a nail, and I have been waiting for an opponent who can 1) consistently grapple, or 2) survive, push a pace, and drag him to deep waters.

While Kattar likely has the grappling advantage, he has completed only three takedowns on 10 attempts in his UFC career.

Still, perhaps he can use a takedown to steal an early-round and take something out of Giga’s gas tank. From a betting perspective, grappling is still worth considering in a striker vs. striker matchup.

While I consider Giga the more effective striker in a vacuum — particularly in this matchup because Kattar has struggled with kicks — the boxing, cardio, and durability advantages should still provide Kattar with a significant path to victory.

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Kattar vs. Chikadze Pick

I projected Kattar as a +154 underdog (39.3%) in this fight and feel this line has gotten a bit disrespectful, notably after Kattar closed at +125 (44.4% implied) against the extremely popular Holloway.

I would bet Kattar down to +176 (36.3%) on the moneyline, at a 3% edge compared to my projection.

I wouldn’t go too heavy pre-fight, however, because you might get the same number or better on Kattar live after Round 2, at which point I would jump in again.

Furthermore, I also show slight value on Kattar to win inside the distance (projected +326, listed +350), but I would need closer to +400 to place that bet. Kattar in Round 4 (+1800) or Round 5 (+2500) are potential dart throws, too.

The total on this fight looks right to me (projected +171 to go the distance; listed +150 yes, -200 no). I’ll stick with my wager on Kattar’s moneyline and a potential live opportunity.

The Pick: Calvin Kattar (+210) · Kattar Live after Round 2

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