We haven’t even made it to December yet, but the bookmakers are already circling the wagons on the new year. 2022 doesn’t have much in the way of officially announced bouts, nor do they even have firm locations for all the events. However, if you’re looking to get to the lines early, the first two main event bouts of the 2022 calendar are available already.
Calvin Kattar (+130) vs Giga Chikadze (-154) – January 15th
The UFC appears to be taking the first couple weeks of 2022 off. They did so last year as well and perhaps it will be a trend moving forward. However, when they do pick back up it’ll have one of the same headliners as last year’s first event.
Last year Calvin Kattar headlined the first event of the year against Max Holloway. Holloway put on a signature performance for his career, landing over 400 strikes and having a chat with Dana White mid-fight. Now the UFC plans to pair Kattar with another tough boxer in Chikadze, who has a long kickboxing record from his time with Glory.
Given Kattar’s issues with a high level kickboxer, it’s perhaps not wild that he’s the underdog in this fight. The books do seem to recognize that Chikadze might not have the same level of MMA striking of Holloway, who seems to have proven himself to be one of the very best in that category.
Francis Ngannou (-118) vs Cyril Gane (+100) – January 22nd
The main event of UFC 270 from Anaheim, California is one of the few fights for the new year that the UFC has officially announced. The heavyweight champ will unify the belt with his old training partner, and interim champion, Cyril Gane.
Long thought to be the toughest technical match for Ngannou, Gane comes in as a very slight underdog. The bout looks to answer the question of whether Gane can use it technique to avoid the big power of Ngannou. On the flip side, are the technical improvements that Ngannou showed against Stipe Miocic enough to get him to land that seminal blow to end the fight?
No matter what side of those questions you’re on, the odds are out now for your perusing.
View the original article on MMA Manifesto: Odds Drop for First Two UFC Headliners of 2022