Another twelve months of MMA action is now behind us, but as 2022 approaches, the UFC will attempt to exceed the success that 2021 has delivered.
The world’s most famous mixed martial arts organization has successfully grown year by year since its birth, never once allowing the year before to defeat them in ratings and overall growth. However, with such a dominant year in 2021, President Dana White will face his most challenging year in overcoming the twelve months just passed.
With that said, the UFC has begun their 2022 scheduling with a pay-per-view extravaganza that involves a heavyweight headliner between Francis Ngannou and Ciryl Gane. However, before the excitement of a PPV event, the UFC will host a UFC in Vegas event that’s sure to deliver the MMA goodness that fans will have been craving.
The UFC betting odds are already available, and the diehard enthusiasts can begin making their picks and predictions for both UFC in Vegas 36 and UFC 270.
With or without your expert UFC service picks, join us in previewing the most intriguing matchups ahead and the betting potential involved with those bouts.
Francis Ngannou vs. Ciryl Gane
Heavyweight Championship Main Event Bout
UFC 270, Saturday 22nd January 2022, at the Honda Center in California
The current UFC heavyweight champion and the company’s Interim heavyweight champion will lock horns in the UFC 270 main event to determine the world’s undisputed heavyweight champion.
Francis Ngannou (16-3-0, 11 KOs) will defend his heavyweight title in the first main event PPV of 2022 after taking his position on the throne when he knocked out Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 in March 2021.
A highly criticized decision by Dana White came just months after Ngannou’s successful title win when the UFC president scheduled an Interim title fight between Ciryl Gane (10-0-0, 4 KOs) and Derrick Lewis.
Usually, an Interim title bout takes place following a champion’s long period of inactivity, but the rising force of Gane was able to capture gold under different circumstances.
Relations between Ngannou and the UFC have been uncertain, but the fight between the Cameroonian and the Frenchman can become the most significant heavyweight bout in UFC history.
Sportsbooks are uncertain, with betting odds close to even, which is a substantial positive for entertainment value, making this contest a perfect piece of matchmaking, despite the events that led towards its creation.
Ngannou and Gane are former trainer partners to provide the contest with more intrigue, and online footage of their sparring sessions is available for all. On inspection, Gane is seemingly the aggressor with a more precise and calculating set of combinations and delivery.
This should come as no surprise, with Ngannou being well-known for knockout power that’s been scientifically measured to deliver the same force as a Ford Escort driving at 80 kph. Notably, a factor you cannot consider when reviewing the sparring footage.
Whereas Ciryl Gane is known for his muay thai kickboxing background. Since his arrival to the UFC, he’s become a legitimate technician in the striking realm, choosing distance, footwork, and shot selection over brute force.
Ngannou vs. Gane Prediction: With the available odds floating around even numbers, you can find an argument in betting value for both fighters.
Ngannou’s sheer fight-ending power is a problem for anyone, but Gane’s sleek footwork and defensive attributes can undoubtedly deliver a point-scoring victory.
I’ll side with the latter, strictly because Gane’s striking technique is more proficient than Ngannou’s winging power punches.
Additionally, when watching Gane tear down the power of Derrick Lewis (an opponent Ngannou couldn’t defeat), it truly separates the power puncher style from a masterful striker.
Calvin Kattar vs. Giga Chikadze
Featherweight Main Event Bout
UFC in Vegas 36, 15th January 2022, at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas
Before the anticipated arrival of UFC 270, two of the UFCs most impressive strikers will go head-to-head in a Vegas main event.
Calvin Kattar (22-5-0, 9 KOs) surfaced to the UFC featherweight division in 2017 and has since held a record of 6-3. While this record isn’t impeccable, Kattar quickly rose to fight the divisions elite and has stoppage victories over Shane Burgos, Ricardo Lamas, and Jeremy Stephens.
Giga Chikadze (14-2-0, 9 KOs) hopes to further make a claim on championship gold by extending his 7-0 undefeated UFC record. The Georgian native is riding a 3-fight win streak, with all of those bouts ending from a set of vicious kickboxing combinations that’ve left the opposition unable to continue.
Kattar vs. Chikadze Prediction: When two elite level strikers meet in the centre of the octagon, it’s never a simple prediction to make. However, it’s the boxing output of Kattar that could be his downfall when faced with Chikadze’s lethal kicks.
The best defense for a robust and well-rounded boxer is a striker who can utilize kicks at range, and Chikadze fits the mould perfectly.
We will witness a skilled boxer in Kattar versus a diverse kickboxer in Chikadze. My money must side with the momentum of Chikadze by overcoming the incoming hands of Kattar by utilizing his impressive distance control and kicking output.