Currently ranked #14 in the lightweight division, Arman “Ahalkalakets” Tsarukyan enters the octagon at 24 years old and with a record of 16-2. His wins are evenly split with five knockouts, five submissions, and six decision wins. He’s been knocked out once, in his second professional fight in 2015, and lost a decision to Makhachev in 2019. Following three consecutive decision wins, Tsarukyan looks to continue his win streak and climb of the lightweight rankings.
Christos “The Spartan” Giagos is an unranked lightweight, 31-years-old, and has a 19-8 record. His wins are dispersed among seven knockouts, four submissions, and eight decisions. He has lost once via knockout, four times via submission, and three times via decision. Giagos is 4-1 in his last four fights and is on a nice two-fight win streak. Most recently, he submitted the power-punching Soriano inside of two rounds.
Tsarukyan vs. Giagos betting odds
Tsarukyan is the largest favorite on the card, entering as a substantial -795 favorite over the biggest underdog on the card, Giagos.
Tsarukyan vs. Giagos breakdown
Being only 24 and already ranked in one of the most competitive divisions in the UFC demonstrates just how talented Tsarukyan is. He is an elite wrestler who uses the increasingly popular, difficult to implement, and dominating Dagestani style of wrestling. Once on top, he will smother his opponent, not allowing them to breathe, let alone separate enough to escape. On the feet, the Russian fighter is confident, often utilizing spinning attacks. He is able to do this because he is unafraid to leave himself open for a takedown. Tsarukyan really hasn’t shown any weaknesses. He has averages 3.4 significant strikes while only absorbing 1.4, has athletic attacks, solid cardio, and is one of the more skilled wrestlers in the division.
Giagos, while not as naturally gifted of a wrestler as Tsarukyan, is still a solid wrestler. He averages 3.3 takedowns per fight and keeps the pressure on as long as his gas tank allows. His gas tank though, is suspect. Giagos’ most recent fights, both wins, showed him gassing out after one round. This is likely because Giagos is so pressure-focused in round 1 that he exhausts himself before the second starts. When he has energy, Giagos is a solid striker with a good chin and some pop behind his punches. Overall, Giagos is a well-rounded and tough veteran who is going to bring the fight to whoever steps in the octagon across from him.
Tsarukyan vs. Giagos prediction
Outside of a perfect one-shot knockout, Tsarukyan is simply too talented and skilled in all areas of MMA for me to see a path to a Giagos victory. Tsarukyan is a colossal favorite for a reason, he is going to win the fight. For bettors, the question is how to find value in a bet. Giagos is tough to finish but his gas tank does fail him. That could be an issue in the late 2nd or 3rd round when Tsarukyan is smothering him on the mat.
Prediction: Tsarukyan inside the distance
Michael Pounders is a high school English Teacher, a boxer himself, and is a fan who loves, gambles on, and nerds out about all things MMA.