In the main event of UFC Vegas 35, top-10 featherweights collided as Giga Chikadze took on Edson Barboza in an anticipated bout.
Chikadze entered the fight coming off a first-round TKO win over Cub Swanson which was the first big win of his UFC career. Prior to that, he was beating unranked fighters but did go 4-0 in 2020 to start to make a name for himself. Barboza, meanwhile, had a highlight-reel KO over Shane Burgos last time out and was looking to prove he’s a future featherweight title contender.
In the end, it was Chikadze who won by third-round TKO in a fight he dominated. He landed big shots against Barboza and had hurt him a few times before finally getting the stoppage in the third. Now, following UFC Vegas 35, here’s what I think should be next for Giga Chikadze and Edson Barboza.
Giga Chikadze proved he is a legit featherweight contender as he became the first person to finish Barboza since he dropped down to featherweight.
Prior to the fight, Chikadze had told BJPENN.com he wanted to be the backup fighter for the title fight at UFC 266. He then called for that to be the case here and it does make some sense. Max Holloway is booked to face Yair Rodriguez in November so perhaps Chikadze does weigh-in as the backup.
If his services are not needed, a logical next fight is to face Korean Zombie in a Fight Night main event. Zombie is currently not booked and the winner of the fight could very well be next in line for a title shot after Holloway if he gets past Rodriguez.
Edson Barboza was on a good run at featherweight but his plans to fight for UFC gold stalled for the time being. Despite the setback, he still will be a top-10 featherweight and is a dangerous out for anyone.
Barboza will likely take some time off to recover and will return sometime in early to mid-2022. Once he is healthy, he will likely need time off, and when he returns a fight against Sodiq Yusuff does make sense. Both men are coming off losses and are both ranked in the top-15. They are also both dynamic strikers so it would be a very fun fight for the fans and a fight that can be a co-main on a Fight Night or be on a pay-per-view main card. Barboza-Yusuff where also booked last year but visa issues knocked Yusuff out of the fight.
What do you think should be next for Giga Chikadze and Edson Barboza after UFC Vegas 35?