Edson Barboza vs Giga Chikadze – Featherweight Division
Bryan Battle vs Gilbert Urbina – Middleweight Division
Ricky Turcios vs Brady Hiestand – Bantamweight Division
Kevin Lee vs Daniel Rodriguez – Welterweight Division
Andre Petroski vs Michael Gillmore – Middleweight Division
Makhmud Muradov vs Gerald Meerschaert – Middleweight Division
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On the latest episode, Jon Orlando, the show’s co-host who is a huge UFC fan, swears that the underdog Chikadze is the winner!
|Barboza vs Chikadze Information|
|Fight||UFC on ESPN: Barboza vs Chikadze|
|Location||UFC Apex, Enterprise, Nevada|
|Time||Saturday, August 28, 8 PM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN, ESPN+, TSN|
|Edson Barboza||TALE OF THE TAPE||Giga Chikadze|
|5 ft. 11 in.||Height||6 ft.|
|75 in.||Reach||74 in.|
Former lightweight fighter Edson Barboza made the decision to make the cut to featherweight after suffering from a stretch of fights that saw him go just 1-5 from 2017-2019.
He debuted in the 145-pound division against Dan Ige in May 2020 and, although putting on a strong performance, Barboza found himself on the losing end of a tight split decision.
Barboza has seemed to have found his stride in the lighter weight class now, however, as he bounced back from the loss to Ige with a unanimous decision win over Makwan Amirkhani last October.
He most recently took on rising contender Shane Burgo this past May at UFC 262. In what was deemed the fight of the night, Barboza won by spectacular knockout in the third round.
The Brazilian fighter trains with the American Top Team gym under coaches Anderson Franca, Gabriel Oliveira, and Marcos de Matta.
Competing since 2009, Barboza holds a black prajied in muay thai, a black belt in taekwondo, and a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Ricardo Almeida.
Barboza also boasts a professional kickboxing record of 25-3.
Currently ranked as the number-nine featherweight in the division, Edson Barboza will have a one-inch reach advantage over Gig Chikadze Saturday night.
Like Barboza, Giga Chikadze is a former kickboxer turned MMA competitor.
Chikadze debuted for the UFC in 2019 and has yet to lose under the promotional banner. He is now riding a six-fight UFC winning streak and an eight-fight winning streak overall.
After four straight decision victories, Chikadze has ended his last two bouts by first-round TKO over Jamey Simmons and Cub Swanson, respectively. Both wins earned Chikadze performance of the night bonuses.
Born in Georgia, Chikadze trains with Kings MMA.
He holds a third-degree black belt in goju-ryu karate and has a professional kickboxing record of 38-6. Chikadze is currently ranked as the tenth-best featherweight in the division. He will stand one-inch taller than Barboza Saturday night.
|Bryan Battle||TALE OF THE TAPE||Gilbert Urbina|
|6 ft. 2 in.||Height||6 ft. 3 in.|
Bryan Battle began his MMA career in 2019, going 1-1 to start things off. Since then, Battle has won four straight fights and now finds himself in the middleweight finals of the latest TUF tournament.
All four of his latest wins have come via stoppage – three submissions and one TKO. None of those fights needed the third round.
On the show, Battle defeated Kemran Lachinov by decision in the first round of the tournament and then submitted Andre Petroski in the second.
The American fighter trains out of South Carolina with Hayastan MMA Charlotte.
He is one year older than his opponent.
Gilbert Urbina had a strong showing in his first fight on the TUF show, defeating Michael Gillmore in the first round of their fight via rear-naked choke).
However, Urbina then suffered a second-round knockout against Tresean Gore in the second round of the tournament.
Gore was to be taking part in the middleweight finals but had to pull out of the contest due to a knee injury. Gilbert Urbina was allowed to step into his place in the finals.
Urbina was 1-1 over his last two fights heading into the show, with his most recent bout being won by Urbina via unanimous decision. He hasn’t fought since late 2019.
Born in Ohio, Urbina fights out of Waco, Texas, and trains with the BMF Ranch.
He will stand one inch taller than his opponent Saturday night.
|Ricky Turcios||TALE OF THE TAPE||Brady Hiestand|
|5 ft. 9 in.||Height||5 ft. 8 in.|
One of the favorites from the start, Ricky Turcios now finds himself in the bantamweight finals of the TUF tournament.
One of the most experienced fighters on the show, Turcios was still undefeated when he appeared on the Contender Series. Unfortunately for Turcios he would suffer his first professional loss on the show.
Since then, Turcios has gone 2-1 and earned two unanimous decision wins during his time on the TUF show.
Born in Texas, Turcios spends his time in California training with Team Alpha Male. He has not had a professional fight since February 2020.
He will have a one-inch height advantage.
Still young in the MMA game, Brady Hiestand was 1-1 in his last two fights before joining the cast of TUF and making his way to the finals.
His last fight took place in February 2020 where he earned a 31-second submission victory over Shane Sargent.
While on the show, Hiestand earned a decision victory in the first round of the tournament and then earned a spectacular first-round TKO victory over Vince Murdock in the second.
Just 22-years-old, Hiestand lives and trains in Spokane, Washington, and works with the Sikjitsu team.
|Kevin Lee||TALE OF THE TAPE||Daniel Rodriguez|
|5 ft. 9 in.||Height||6 ft.|
|77 in.||Reach||74 in.|
The story of Kevin Lee and his weight cutting is an interesting one.
After a five-fight winning streak in the lightweight division, Lee then went on a run that saw him go 1-2 while missing weight once.
Lee moved up to the welterweight division to take on Rafael dos Anjos in 2019 and was submitted in the fourth-round.
He then dropped back down to the 155-pound division and earned a spectacular first-round head kick knockout victory over Gregor Gillespie.
However, not only would he lose his next fight to Charles Olivera via submission – Lee would also miss the 155-pound mark once again.
He returns to the welterweight division for the first time since his loss to dos Anjos.
A former pupil of Xtreme Couture, Lee has spent his last few training camps working with Tristar Gym in Montreal – the former training center of all-time great welterweight Georges St. Pierre. He works with head coach Firas Zahabi.
Competing professionally since 2012, Lee boasts NCWA wrestling credentials and is a former TWC lightweight champion.
He will have a three-inch reach advantage over his opponent Saturday night.
Daniel Rodriguez may be the underdog in this fight according to the oddsmakers but don’t count him out.
Rodriguez is stepping in as a replacement opponent for Lee but still had ample time to prepare compared to some short-notice replacements in the past.
Right now, Rodriguez finds himself on a two-fight winning streak. He earned a unanimous decision win over Mike Perry this past April and three months later earned a first-round TKO victory over Preston Parsons.
Competing since 2015, Rodriguez trains with the BMF Ranch and also spends some time with The Yard Muay Thai.
The southpaw fighter will stand three inches taller than his opponent.
|Andre Petroski||TALE OF THE TAPE||Michael Gillmore|
|6 ft.||Height||5 ft. 11 in.|
Andre Petroski enters Saturday night’s contest as the second-biggest favorite on the main card at -525, which may be slightly unreasonable.
Petroski was seen as one of the favorites on this season of TUF. He entered the tournament reality show coming off of the first professional loss of his career and holding a 5-1 record.
He earned a submission win in his first fight on the show but was then submitted himself and eliminated from the tournament in his next fight.
Born in Pennsylvania, Petroski boasted a strong wrestling style.
He will have a one-inch height advantage over his opponent.
Michael Gillmore was also a contestant on this season of TUF, albeit as a replacement who stepped in for the injured Miles Hunsinger.
Being that he didn’t initially make the cut for the show could explain why oddsmakers have him as a +385 to win but take those numbers with a grain of salt.
Although Gillmore lost his only fight on the reality show (he had only two days to prepare), he was riding a three-fight professional winning streak heading into the show. His decision to stay on with the show despite not making the cut, hoping for an opportunity, also shows his desire to fight.
The thing to watch for, however, is that all three of Gillmore’s pro losses have come via submission – something Petroski is rather quite good at.
Gillmore trains out of Michigan with coach Joaquin Rodriguez and the Murcielago MMA team.
|Makhmud Muradov||TALE OF THE TAPE||Gerald Meerschaert|
|6 ft. 2 in.||Height||6 ft. 1 in.|
|75.5 in.||Reach||77 in.|
Uzbek fighter Makhmud Muradov is the biggest betting favorite on this main card. At -600, he is simply expected to dominate – and he has all the tools to do so.
Muradov joined the UFC roster in 2019 while riding an 11-fight winning streak. He debuted with a unanimous decision win over Alessio Di Chirico. But that was just the beginning.
Following the Di Chirico win, Muradov knocked out Trevor Smith in the third round of their bout which earned him a performance bonus. He followed that octagon appearance with a flying knee TKO over Andrew Sanchez this past January – which also earned him a post-right performance bonus.
He is now on a 14-fight professional winning streak overall.
A former student of Tiger Muay Thai Phuket, Muradov now splits his time training amongst several world-class gyms including London Shootfighters, Legion Fight Club, and also works with the Money Team – boxing legend Floyd Mayweather’s boxing club and his coach Dewey Cooper.
He has been competing in mixed martial arts since 2012. He is a former middleweight champion in WASO MMA, XFN, and Caveam National. He was also a junior national K-1 kickboxing champion.
He is two-years younger than his opponent and will stand one inch taller.
At +435, oddsmakers don’t seem to have much hope for Gerald Meerschaert to pull off the win this Saturday night and it’s not too difficult to see why as Meerschaert has gone just 3-5 over his last eight fights.
However, Meerschaert will be entering the cage Saturday riding the success of a much-needed win.
Meerschaert had suffered a back-to-back knock-out loss in 2020. He lost in under two minutes to Ian Heinisch at UFC 250 and then lost in just 17-seconds to Khamzat Chimaev last September.
Most recently, Meerschaert earned a first-round stoppage of his own as he submitted Bartosz Fabinski at the two-minute mark, earning him a performance bonus.
The American fighter trains out of Milwaukee with Roufusport and coach Duke Roufus.
Competing since 2007, Meerschaert holds a black belt in Roufusport kickboxing as well as a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
He is a former RFA middleweight champion and will have a 1.5-inch reach advantage in the contest against Muradov.
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