Fireworks are expected when exciting strikers Edson Barboza meets Giga Chikadze in the main event of UFC Vegas 35 on Saturday night at the UFC’s APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

But before Barboza and Chikadze exchange pleasantries, the finals of the TUF 29 will happen on the show. Ricky Turcios will face Brady Hiestand in the bantamweight final while Bryan Battle and Gilbert Urbina will square off in the middleweight final. Veteran Kevin Lee is also in the main card and he will take on the rising Daniel Rodriguez.

Let’s take a look at the UFC Vegas 35 main cards and make our predictions.

“Fighting" Edson Barboza vs Giga Chikadze

Edson Barboza is the no. 9 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 35-year old from Rio de Janeiro is a former Ring of Combat and Renaissance MMA lightweight champion. Barboza has been fighting in the UFC since 2010 and has earned a total of 10 Performance of the Night bonuses including Fight of the Night a record 8 times.

Barboza has a record of 22-9 with 13 knockouts and one submission win. He is 5-11 tall with a 75-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance. In his last bout, Barboza knocked out Shane Burgos at UFC 262.

Giga Chikadze is the no. 10 ranked featherweight in the UFC. The 33-year old from Georgia in the former Soviet Republic fought for Gladiator Challenge before joining the UFC in 2019. Chikadze has fought six times inside the Octagon and has not yet tasted defeat under the UFC.

He has a record of 13-2 with 8 knockouts and two submission wins. Chikadze is six feet tall with a 74-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance. In his last bout, Chikadze knocked out Cub Swanson last May 1st.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 08/27/2021

These are two extremely talented kickboxers and the line is razor-thin. Although I like Chikadze a lot, I will have to pick against him in this fight.

Barboza has been in the UFC for so long that you’d think he’s too old. But he’s only two years older than Chikadze and has tons more experience than his opponent. With his experience comes fighting under the bright lights and PPV events which Chikadze has not seen before in the UFC.

The Brazilian is also an underrated grappler and his boxing looks to be better than Chikadze’s.

Make no mistake, Chikadze is not an easy out and there’s a chance he wins this. I’d rather watch and enjoy this fight than place a bet on it. But if I had to choose, I will go with the more experienced fighter who may also have move tricks in his bag.

Prediction: Edson Barboza

“Fighting" Bryan Battle vs Gilbert Urbina

Bryan Battle was the last pick of Alex Volkanovski but his raw talent and fight IQ enabled him to thrive against more experienced opponents like Andre Petroski and Kemran Lachinov. He was supposed to fight Tresean Gore but the latter got hurt and he will now take on teammate Gilbert Urbina instead.

Battle is 5-1 with one knockout and three submission wins. He is 6-1 tall and has a 77-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Gilbert Urbina was knocked out by Gore in the semifinals but he will replace the man who beat him and take on an opponent that he trained with in the TUF as his teammate. The 25-year old from Weslaco, Texas heads to this bout coming off a win over Angelo Trevino in November 2019.

Urbina has a record of 6-1 with one knockout and two submission wins. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-9 tall with an undisclosed reach.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 08/27/2021

Battle is a good submission artist and during his current four-bout win streak, three wins have come via tap out. He was supposed to fight Tresean Green but the latter suffered a knee injury and had to be replaced by Urbina.

While Urbina is taking this fight on short notice, he is familiar with Battle’s style as the two used to work together before. However, Battle has been in camp preparing for this fight while Urbina hasn’t. I think in a fight where two fighters know each other’s style, it could come down to conditioning. Battle wears out Urbina and submits him.

Prediction: Bryan Battle

“Fighting" Ricky Turcios vs Brady Hiestand

Turcios was dubbed as the “Cult leader” by his TUF teammates because of his eccentric behavior and his high-level energy. However, he was also a high-level fighter inside the cage. He edged out Dan Argueta and Liudvik Sholinian to advance to the final.

Turcios is one of the most experienced fighters in the tournament and has a record of 10-2 with three knockouts and one submission loss. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-9 tall and has a 71-inch reach.

Brady Hiestand is looking to follow fellow Sikjitsu members Julianna Pena and Micahel Chiesa as TUF winners. The 22-year old from Spokane, Washington edged training partner Josh Rettinghouse in the quarterfinals before dominating Vince Murdock to book a slot in the finals.

Hiestand has a record of 5-1 with two knockouts and two wins via submission. He is 5-8 tall with a reach of 71 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 08/27/2021

Hiestand gives up a significant disadvantage in experience here. However, he has the youth, stamina, and stopping ability to win this fight. Turcios may not have the same knockout ability as Hiestand but with his veteran savvy, he can easily drag his opponent to deep waters.

Bambam has gone past one round only twice with his lone loss coming in one of those bouts. This is going to be an interesting fight because these two know each other as teammates. I’ll go with the more experienced fighter.

Prediction: Ricky Turcios

“Fighting" Kevin Lee vs Daniel Rodriguez

Kevin Lee is the no. 11 ranked lightweight in the UFC. The 28-year old from Grand Rapids, Michigan is a former TWC lightweight champion who joined the UFC in 2014. Once one of the UFC’s top lightweights, Lee has struggled as of late and has dropped four out of his last six bouts including a submission loss to Charles Oliveira in March 2020.

Lee is 18-6 with three knockouts and six wins via submission. The Motown Phenom is 5-9 tall with a 77-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance.

Daniel Rodriguez is a former competitor from Bellator, Combate Americas, and King of the Cage. The 34-yea old from Alhambra, California was a lightweight champion at the Smash Global promotion. Rodriguez joined the UFC in 2021 and has posted a 5-1 record inside the Octagon.

Rodriguez has a record of 15-2 with eight knockouts and four submission wins. He is a southpaw fighter who stands 6-1 tall with a reach of 74 inches.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 08/27/2021

Kevin Lee’s career may have hit a snag but he has the set of skills that would neutralize Rodriguez’s aggressive style. Lee uses his striking to set up his takedown game. Lee is a powerful wrestler with a great blast double and a lead-heavy top game. On the feet, he can match Rodriguez with his lethal high kicks, and overall, he’s a decent striker.

There’s no question Rodriguez earned his right to fight better opposition but I’m not sure if he is ready for veterans like Kevin Lee. While Rodriguez has found success with strikers, he has not fought someone like Lee who has well-honed weapons anywhere he takes this fight.

Prediction: Kevin Lee

“Fighting" Andre Petroski vs Michael Gilmore

Andre Petroski had a promising career when he joined the TUF. However, he was submitted by Bryan Battle in the semifinals but will get a chance to showcase his skills on this Fight Night Event.

Petroski has a record of 5-1 with three knockouts and two submission wins. The 30-year old from Glendora, New Jersey is a switch hitter who stands six feet tall with a 73-inch reach.

Michael Gilmore joined the TUF 29 tournament as a replacement for Team Ortega’s Michael Hunsinger who suffered a knee injury before the quarterfinals. Gilmore was knocked out in his only bout but returns after taking another fight on short notice.

The 34-year old from Michigan is 6-3 with three knockouts. Gilmore is 5-11 tall with a 74-inch reach and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 08/27/2021

With due respect to Michael Gilmore but I think that the UFC is feeding him to the lion. Petroski was already a stud in the regional scene before taking a loss at LFA 93. You bet he’s hungry to rebound here and since the UFC wants to sign him, they’re giving him an “easy” opponent in Gilmore.

Gilmore wasn’t even among the original TUF 29 contestants. He came in as a quick replacement for Miles Hunsinger who suffered a knee injury. Of course, he got submitted in his first appearance but perhaps the UFC is rewarding him with another short-notice fight. I think Petroski overwhelms Gilmore.

Prediction: Andre Petroski

“Fighting" Makhmud Muradov vs Gerald Meerschaert

Muradov is a former kickboxer and a middleweight champion at X-Fight Nights. The 31-year old from Uzbekistan joined the UFC in 2019 but has fought just three times inside the Octagon where he is unbeaten. Muradov knocked out Andrew Sanchez at UFC 257 in his most recent bout.

He has a record of 25-6 with 17 knockouts and three submission wins. Muradov is 6-2 tall with a 75-inch reach and is an orthodox fighter.

Gerald Meerschaert is the former RFA middleweight champion. The 33-year old from Racine, Wisconsin also fought for Titan FC and King of the Cage. Meerschaert joined the UFC in 2016 and has struggled in his last eight bouts with only three wins. He choked out Bartosz Fabinski in his last bout at UFC Vegas 24.

GM3 has a record of 32-14 with six knockouts and 24 submission wins. Meerschaert is a southpaw who is 6-1 tall and has a 77-inch reach.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 08/27/2021

Muradov has the tools to develop into one of the players at middleweight. He has terrific punching power and great speed and he should prove to be a problem for the lumbering Meerschaert.

Meerschaert has a dangerous ground game but to get there, he must get past Muradov’s punches. If GM3 chooses to oblige in a stand-up battle, he doesn’t have the volume to match Muradov. Not to mention Muradov has displayed an impressive gas tank. So either the Uzbek outworks Meerschaert or tires him to victory

Prediction: Makhmud Muradov

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