Giga Chikadze isn’t facing the opponent he was preparing for, but he’ll still get to compete this weekend.
According to Chikadze (9-2), he had been set to face Mike Davis two times already before Saturday night but those fights never materialised. The Georgian featherweight insists that those bouts didn’t take place because his opponent cancelled on him twice. Furthermore, Chikadze revealed that Davis (8-2) has blocked him on social media which alludes to the fact that all is not cordial between the pair. He remained hopeful that they would finally clash this weekend but it wasn’t to be as Davis withdrew from the bout again, this time due to complications surrounding his weight cut.
The duo have trained together in the past so aren’t totally unfamiliar with each other’s skills and Chikadze has questioned if the pullouts from Davis have in fact been injury-related. He was slightly more positive that Davis would make the walk this weekend because of possible repercussions from the UFC towards the American, but he was let down once again.
Thankfully for Chikadze, Titan FC bantamweight champion, Irwin Rivera, has agreed to step up on late notice in Florida. Rivera (9-4) is currently riding a three fight winning streak ahead of his UFC debut and has finished all of those opponents due to strikes. Two of those stoppages have come in the championship rounds. Rivera will make the move up to featherweight for this bout due to taking the fight at the last minute.
Chikadze has had less than three weeks to prepare himself for this upcoming fight but he mentioned that his coaches and teammates at Kings MMA were there for him like they always have been. Although he acknowledges that training hasn’t been the easiest due to the current global pandemic, the 31-year-old still feels great and believes that he is actually ‘better prepared’ than he has been previously. This is because the gym hasn’t been functioning as usual, so Chikadze has received ‘extra attention’ from his peers and there has been an additional buzz around his fight due to the sport returning.
He has been very active as of late and after this weekend, he would have competed three times over a period of seven months. Chikadze is currently riding a four fight winning streak and has finished his opponent in seven of his nine professional victories. The former Glory kickboxer believes that a win against Rivera this weekend on the preliminary card leaves him in a great position and will allow him to step up against some of the bigger names in the division.
“If I win on Saturday night, I feel that I would be ready to fight someone known to the UFC fans,” expressed Chikadze. “Edson Barboza would be a great fight for me after this one. I expect a good win and I will then try to push Edson to make that fight happen.”
UFC Fight Night: Overeem v Harris prelims can be seen live on BT Sport 1 at midnight on Saturday evening for viewers in the UK and Ireland. Fans in the US can tune in across ESPN platforms from 7pmET/6pmCT on Saturday night.