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Giga Chikadze plans to smash Edson Barboza, play backup for Volkanovski-Ortega at UFC 266

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UFC Fight Night: Chikadze v Simmons Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will separate contender from pretender when Giga Chikadze and Edson Barboza collide in the UFC Vegas 35 featherweight main event this Sat. night (Aug. 28, 2021) inside APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Chikadze (13-2) fell to Austin Springer on Dana White’s “Contender Series” back in June 2018 but has been electric ever since, to the tune of eight straight wins with four finishes. “Ninja” was last seen putting the hurt on Cub Swanson at UFC on ESPN 23.

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CHAMPIONSHIP DOUBLE DIP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Phoenix, Ariz., on Sat., May 7, 2022, with a blockbuster championship doubleheader. Headlining the pay-per-view (PPV) event will be Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, seeking to defend his title against No. 1-ranked contender, Justin Gaethje. In UFC 274’s co-main event, women’s Strawweight champion, Rose Namajunas, looks to avenge her loss against No. 2-seeded, Carla Esparza. And top-ranked Lightweight contenders collide when Michael Chandler (No. 5) locks horns with Tony Ferguson (No. 7) in a fan-friendly 155-pound clash for the ages.

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“I think (Barboza) will try and take me down,” Chikadze told BJPenn.com. “He will start with striking and then he will see the difference in the level of striking we have and he will shoot. He’ll be shocked when he sees how much better of a striker I am, that we are on different levels. He will then turn into a wrestler and will try and take me down.”

The winner of Chikadze vs. Barboza will sit atop a very short list of title contenders, one that includes the winner of the Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez showdown in November. But “Ninja” may use his UFC Vegas 35 victory to sneak in the back door.

“I want a title shot,” Chikadze continued. “I’ll be the backup fighter for the title fight between (Alexander) Volkanovski and (Brian) Ortega at UFC 266. After I finish this fight, I think I will be able to be the backup fighter for the title fight in September. Holloway and Rodriguez are booked for November, so it makes sense that I’ll be the backup fighter.”

UFC 266 takes place Sept. 25 in Las Vegas.