In this three-part series, I will choose my top UFC men’s fighters of 2020, looking back over what they have achieved during the year. I will detail their fights and performances and explain why, in my opinion, they excelled during 2020.
3rd: Giga Chikadze
2020: 4-0 – one TKO, three decisions. One Performance of the Night (POTN) bonus. Now 5-0 in the UFC, 12-2 overall.
Age 32. Georgian. Background in Goju-ryu karate (third-degree dan black belt) and kickboxing. Featherweight.
Here are Chikadze’s 2020 fights:
1: UFC 248 (March) – defeated UFC debutant Jamall Emmers by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) on the early prelims. These were the only dropped round(s) scored for Chikadze this year.
Prior to this fight, Emmers had won his previous four, all by stoppage, including claiming the SMASH Global featherweight title, and eight of his last nine fights.
2: May – defeated another UFC debutant, Irwin Rivera, by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27) on the prelims. Before his bout with Chikadze, Rivera had won his previous three fights all by TKO, including winning and defending the Titan FC bantamweight title.
3: October – defeated Omar Morales by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) on the prelims. Morales was a perfect 10-0 in his career going into the fight, although this was his first in a division other than lightweight.
4: November – faced his third UFC debutant of the year in Jamey Simmons, who Chikadze beat by TKO due to a head kick and follow up punches at 3:51 of the first round, earning a POTN bonus in his first fight on a UFC main card with his first UFC finish. Simmons suffered only his third professional loss in this bout and had won his previous three, including the Caged Aggression featherweight championship title in his most recent fight the month before.
Following his victory over Simmons, Chikadze called out Jeremy Stephens (#8 UFC featherweight). Stephens responded by saying he was open to the matchup so Chikadze could find himself against a ranked opponent next if the bout is scheduled.
Chikadze built on his maiden UFC victory in 2019 by producing increasingly impressive performances and finding himself claiming a finish on the main card. Now on a seven-fight win streak, “Ninja” will be confident of climbing the 145lbs rankings this year.
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