Giga Chikadze long sought a ranked contender. When he was finally matched up with one for a fight Saturday, he made the most of it.

In the UFC on ESPN 30 main event, Chikadze (14-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) finished longtime lightweight contender Edson Barboza (22-10 MMA, 16-10 UFC) via TKO due to strikes at 1:44 of Round 3.

The event took place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It aired on ESPN and streamed on ESPN+.

The first round foreshadowed the fight as a whole. It was a kicks galore. Both men landed kicks on multiple levels. Chikadze checked some of Barboza’s leg kicks. Much of his time Chikadze spent circling away from the Brazilian before he landed some big body kicks.

In Round 2, Barboza continued to stalk Chikadze but with greater efficiency. Barboza landed a series of kicks to the midsection that visibly tightened Chikadze’s core.

He smells blood! @giga_chikadze #UFCVegas35

— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) August 29, 2021

Shortly after the start of Round 3, Chikadze connected with a right punch that stunned Barboza. While on the retreat, Barboza absorbed strikes to the body and head. Barboza ate another right hand and stumbled backward. Eventually, his balance gave out and he toppled to the mat.

On the canvas, Barboza worked for a leg submission before Chikadze attempted a D’Arce choke. Barboza rolled out but was promptly cranked in the face again by a Chikadze punch. He fell again, which triggered referee Jason Herzog to step in and stop the fight.


— UFC (@ufc) August 29, 2021

After the fight, Chikadze tossed out the idea of being a backup fighter for the UFC 266 title fight between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega – or potentially a matchup against former titleholder Max Holloway.

The Blessed is…NEXT for @Giga_Chikadze?#UFCVegas35

— UFC (@ufc) August 29, 2021

With the victory, Barboza, 35, extends his winning streak to three. The 3-0 stretch marks the first since 2017 for Barboza who has produced inconsistent results in recent years against some of the promotion’s finest competition.

Chikadze’s win comes in his first promotional main event. Since he signed with the promotion in 2019, Chikadze has not lost. His overall winning streak extends to nine as Barboza becomes Chikadze’s ninth pro MMA win by knockout.

The loss snaps a two-fight winning streak for Barboza. The 35-year-old Brazilian fighter has competed on the UFC roster since UFC 123 in November 2010. Since then, he’s fought a who’s who of lightweight and featherweight talent including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Justin Gaethje, and Tony Ferguson. With the loss, Barboza drops to 3-6 in his most recent nine.

Up-to-the-minute UFC on ESPN 30 results include:

Giga Chikadze def. Edson Barboza via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 1:44
Bryan Battle def. Gilbert Urbina via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:15
Ricky Turcios def. Brady Hiestand via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Daniel Rodriguez def. Kevin Lee via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Andre Petroski def. Micheal Gillmore via TKO (strikes) – Round 3, 3:12
Gerald Meerschaert def. Makhmud Muradov via submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2, 1:49
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Alessio Di Chirico via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 0:17
Wellington Turman def. Sam Alvey via split decision (28-27, 27-28, 28-27
Dustin Jacoby def. Darren Stewart via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 3:04
JJ Aldrich def. Vanessa Demopoulos via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Pat Sabatini def. Jamall Emmers via submission (heel hook) – Round 1, 1:53
Mana Martinez def. Guido Cannetti via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)


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