Giga Chikadze showed off his striking prowess at UFC on ESPN 8, taking home a decision win with ease against short-notice opponent Irwin Rivera.
There’s fighting last minute. Then there’s fighting last minute – in a pandemic – in the UFC. Oh, and up a weight class. That’s what Irwin Rivera was attempting to do on Saturday at UFC on ESPN 8. The Titan FC bantamweight champ was stepping in against Giga Chikadze after Mike Davis was forced off the card.
Irwin Rivera, the much smaller guy, took the center of the cage right away, exploding forward with punches. Throwing a bit wild with caution to the wind, Rivera was looking for the kill. Chikadze was frequently utilizing front kicks to frustrate Rivera. Midway through round one, Rivera slowed down and Chikadze was getting more and more comfortable. Giga was doing a good job using his kickboxing, sticking Rivera from the outside.
Chikadze picked up where he left off, throwing kicks at his range. He started to really hit the target of Rivera, landing head kicks and landing hooks and uppercuts. Giga was having fun out there, showboating and flowing with his output of punishment. Chikadze was consistently finding a home for his knee as Rivera was charging in. Chikadze simply looked very loose, reading Rivera and picking his shots. A lot of punishment built up on Rivera in the second round, bloodying up his face.
Giga caught Rivera coming in with a textbook knee, dropping him and following up with a beautiful combo capped off by a head kick. Rivera was displaying his toughness, taking big shots while trying to close the distance. Giga was in the zone, throwing a variety of kicks and showing excellent kickboxing. Just a dominant kickboxing display from Giga Chikadze.
🇬🇪@Giga_Chikadze is LAUNCHING but @Beast144_1 is UNPHASED. #UFCFL pic.twitter.com/w9l1TyLxYH
— UFC (@ufc) May 17, 2020
Giga Chikadze def. Irwin Rivera by Unanimous Decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)