I’m UFC kicks off 2022 with a bang, with this weekend’s headline fight seeing two top-10 featherweights clash at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Knockout specialists face off
The main event sees two of the most fearsome featherweights collide, as Calvin ‘The Boston Finisher’ Kattar faces off against Giga ‘Ninja’ Chikadze.
Fighting almost exactly a year on from his last UFC appearance, Kattar is looking to bounce back from defeat at the hands of Max Holloway. Kattar holds a 22-5 record, finishing 13 of those opponents, 11 by knockout and two via submission. He holds an associate degree from college but has always been involved in the MMA scene, working as an MMA promoter before going professional in MMA himself.
Making waves since joining the UFC, Chikadze has won his first seven UFC bouts. He holds an impressive 14-2 record, finishing 10 of his opponents, all bar one finish coming in the first round. The Georgian had a successful kickboxing career (38-6) before transitioning over to MMA. Outside the Octagon, Chikadze founded the Knock Out Cancer charity, which assists individuals fighting cancer with financial support for medical bills, chemotherapy and medical evaluations.
Prototype takes on Vanilla Gorilla
The co main sees an all-American heavyweight clash between Jake ‘The Prototype’ Collier and Chase ‘The Vanilla Gorilla’ Sherman.
Collier has won nine of his last 14, and this will be his third UFC fight at heavyweight. The Prototype holds a 12-6 record, with eight finishes, five by knockout and three via submission. He won the Missouri State title at amateur level and he held a job as the foreman of a welding crew before going professional.
Proving himself as a knockout specialist, Sherman has won 14 of his 15 victories by knockout. 12 of these victories came in the first round, and six of these came in 63 seconds or less. He holds a purple belt under Duke Roufus in kickboxing and a blue belt in BJJ. He took up MMA as a way to stay competitive following finishing his tenure in college football.
Another action-packed bout will see the no.2 and no.4 women’s flyweight contenders go head-to-head as Katlyn ‘Blonde Fighter’ Chookagian takes on Jennifer Maia.
Entering her sixth year in the UFC, Chookagian will be hoping to get herself another title fight. She holds career wins over Sijara Eubanks, Melinda Fabian and in her most recent bout, she defeated Viviane Araujo. She trains at the Renzo Gracie Academy, alongside Edson Barboza, Marlon Moraes and team captain Frankie Edgar. In the last three years, her only defeats have come at the hands of the current champion or No. 1 contender.
Holding a 19-7-1 record, Maia will be looking to build positive momentum from her last bout, in which she defeated Jessica Eye by unanimous decision. The Brazilian has secured nine finishes, four by knockout and five via submission, six of these coming in the first round. Besides competing in the UFC, Maia is only months away from completing a degree in Physical Education.