Edson Barboza told the media this week he is prepared for an all-out war Saturday when he faces Giga Chikadze in the main event of UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze, and the rugged Brazilian slugger wouldn't have it any other way. The ranked featherweights will top the MMA showcase from the Apex facility, with the main UFC fight card set for 10 p.m. ET. The No. 9-ranked Barboza is noted for his highlight-reel battles against some of the sport's greats, including former undefeated champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and former interim belt-holder Justin Gaethje.
The fight is listed as a pick'em in the Barboza vs. Chikadze odds from Caesars Sportsbook, with both fighters listed at -110 (risk $110 to win $100). In the co-main, Bryan Battle is the -165 favorite in the UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze odds as he takes on Gilbert Urbina (+145) in a matchup of middleweight prospects that is part of the recruiting show "The Ultimate Fighter." Before making any UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze picks, make sure you see the expert MMA predictions from SportsLine analyst Ian Parker.
A former fighter who's been in the industry for more than 15 years, Parker has managed some of the world's best, including former UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman, Costas Philippou and Gian Villante. Parker trained alongside UFC Hall of Famer Matt Serra. Now, Parker breaks down fights and makes betting picks for the Voice of the UFC, Jon Anik.
Parker is coming off a mind-boggling 2020 season. On the Anik & Florian Podcast, Parker went an astounding 58-14, returning $9,465 to $100 bettors who followed him. He hit 11 of his 17 underdog picks and 19 of 30 main events. Overall, Parker nailed an astonishing 81 percent of his plays.
Additionally, the revered MMA analyst continues to build on a massively profitable 2021 campaign for SportsLine members. Just last week at UFC Fight Night, Parker called a victory for Jared Cannonier (-140) over Kelvin Gastelum (+120) in the middleweight main event. He also predicted a win for Mark Madsen (-165) against Clay Guida (+145) in the lightweight co-main event. Anyone who has followed him has seen huge returns.
Now, with UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze in sight, Parker has carefully studied the MMA odds and matchups from every angle and released his expert picks and predictions. A successful parlay of these picks would result in a payout of 8-1. You can only see these expert UFC picks at SportsLine.
UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze preview
Parker knows the main event will serve as a showcase for two of the featherweight division's most lethal strikers, with the winner making a case for a top-five ranking and joining the conversation for a title shot.
Barboza (22-9) is an 11-year UFC veteran who has long been regarded as one of the most skilled strikers in MMA. The rugged Brazilian has been involved in numerous memorable battles against the sport's biggest names, earning nine performance bonuses.
However, the 35-year-old has never competed for or won a UFC title, in large part because of consistent stumbles against world-class competition. He is currently on a two-fight winning streak but had lost his previous three, including two by split decision. The lone decisive defeat came in a first-round knockout at the hands of former interim lightweight champion Justin Gaethje.
Now, Barboza finds himself in the familiar role as a potential steppingstone for Chikadze (13-2), who has been calling for a step up in competition following each of his past two victories. The 32-year-old Georgian fighter has two split-decision wins among his six UFC victories, but is coming off a first-round stoppage of fading veteran Cub Swanson in May. You can only see who to back here.
UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze predictions
We'll reveal one of Parker's UFC Fight Night picks here: He is going with Jamall Emmers (-145) to emerge victorious against Pat Sabatini (+125) in a matchup of explosive featherweight prospects.
Emmers (18-5) is a heavy-handed fighter who came to the UFC as a celebrated prospect following standout performances in numerous promotions. He signed a UFC contract following a four-fight win streak, all by stoppages. The 32-year-old California native made his debut with promotion in March of last year and battled Chikadze, who is fighting in the main event, for three full rounds before dropping a razor-thin split decision.
The versatile Sabatini (14-3) inked a UFC contract following a 4-1 run through the respected Cage Fury Fighting Championships promotion. The 30-year-old Pennsylvania native rolled to a unanimous decision against Tristan Connelly in his UFC debut in April, but he was criticized in some quarters for failing to attempt to finish the fight against a reeling opponent.
"Emmers will be the better striker and, as long as he can avoid the slick takedowns of Sabatini, he should be able to get the win," Parker told SportsLine.
How to make UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Chikadze picks
Parker also has strong picks for Barboza vs. Chikadze and every other bout on the UFC Fight Night card. He's also backing one fighter who "will bring the pressure" to score a convincing win. Those selections are only available at SportsLine.
Who wins Barboza vs. Chikadze? And which fighter will bring the heat? Visit SportsLine now to get detailed top picks on UFC Fight Night, all from the ultimate insider who was up almost $9,500 on MMA picks last year, and find out.
UFC Fight Night odds, fight card
Edson Barboza (-110) vs. Giga Chikadze (-110)
Bryan Battle (-165) vs. Gilbert Urbina (+145)
Ricky Turcios (-160) vs. Brady Hiestand (+140)
Kevin Lee (-145) vs. Daniel Rodriguez (+125)
Andre Petroski (-420) vs. Micheal Gilmore (+340)
Makhmud Muradov (-450) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (+370)
Abdul Razak Alhassan (+190) vs Alessio Di Chirico (-220)
Wellington Turman (-145) vs. Sam Alvey (+120)
Dustin Jacoby (-185) vs. Darren Stewart (+160)
JJ Aldrich (-360) vs. Vanessa Demopoulos (+300)
Jamall Emmers (-145) vs. Pat Sabatini ((+125)
Mana Martinez (-325) vs. Guido Cannetti (+265)