LAS VEGAS – Giga Chikadze has declared himself the No. 1 striker in the UFC. The man might have a case.
Chikadze (14-2) improved his UFC record to 7-0 on Saturday, knocking out Edson Barboza with accurate shots at minute 1, 44 seconds of the third round. The featherweight fight topped the UFC Fight Night inside the Apex.
The finale came after Chikadze, representing the country of Georgia, injured Barboza with a knee to the waist. Barboza withdrew from the shot and Chikadze seized the opportunity immediately. Right hand after hand landed on Barboza’s head. The Brazilian never fully recovered from that opening shot.
After briefly threatening a submission on the ground, after Barboza fell off the punches, Chikadze continued to hurt Barboza on the feet until referee Jason Herzog intervened.
Barboza, 35, protested the strike, but was very unbalanced and struggling to defend himself.
It’s a huge win for Chikadze, a former professional kickboxer who signed with the UFC in 2019. Coming Saturday, Barboza was the top-ranked of the two and was on an impressive back-to-back winning streak against Makwan Amirkhani and Shane. Burgos.
After the fight, Chikadze called for a title shot or a showdown against former featherweight champion Max Holloway, who is currently recovering from injury and does not have an officially scheduled fight.
Chikadze, who fights at Kings MMA in Southern California, has not lost since falling short as a contestant on Dana White’s Contender Series in June 2018.