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Just like he did in 2021, Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight Calvin Kattar will headline the first show of 2022.
On Friday, MMA Junkie announced that Kattar (22-5) and Giga Chikadze (14-2) is the current planned headliner for the UFC Fight Night event on Jan. 15. This unnumbered event is expected to be held inside the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, and this featherweight marquee matchup has been agreed to but the contracts have not been signed. Kattar’s manager, Tyson Chartier, confirmed in an interview with MyMMANews on Friday that Kattar had accepted a main event match in January.
Kattar has not fought since taking a hellacious beating at UFC on ABC 1 that remains a top contender for Sherdog’s 2021 “Beatdown of the Year” award, absorbing an unprecedented 445 significant strikes from Max Holloway. Before the one-sided loss, “The Boston Finisher” racked up a pair of wins over Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige in 2020. Kattar has never strung together a win streak longer than two since joining the promotion in 2017, winning two fights and then losing the third by decision.
Chikadze has not suffered a defeat since his unsuccessful 2018 appearance on Dana White's Contender Series against Austin Springer. A pair of speedy victories on the notorious Gladiator Challenge circuit springboarded him into the UFC, where he took home a split decision win over Brandon Davis. Three more decisions over Jamall Emmers, Irwin Rivera and Omar Morales gave way to the current knockout stretch he is on. In his last appearance, Chikadze outdueled Edson Barboza, stopping the Brazilian with strikes in the first round.
The first UFC event of the year will take place on Jan. 15 likely at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. In addition to the Kattar-Chikadze headliner, other key matchups include a flyweight tilt between Brandon Royval and Rogerio Bontorin, as well as a welterweight clash between Court McGee and Ramiz Brahimaj.
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