Massive underdog Christos Giagos hoping to ‘pull off’ surprise win over Arman Tsarukyan at UFC Vegas 37

christos giagos
May 15, 2021; Houston, Texas, USA; Christos Giagos (red gloves) defeats Sean Soriano (blue gloves) during UFC 262 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Christos Giagos has a serious challenge ahead of him on Saturday night at UFC Vegas 37, but he knows the upside of a win could mean a leap into the top-15 of the division.

On Sept. 18, Giagos (19-8) will be the biggest betting underdog on the entire UFC Vegas 37 card. His opponent Arman Tsarukyan (16-2) is a whopping -800 favorite, while “The Spartan” sits at +550 with oddsmakers in Vegas. They are astounding numbers considering Giagos is on a two-fight win streak and has been victorious in four of his six appearances in the Octagon.

Christos Giagos a huge underdog to Arman Tsarukyan

The odds frame a narrative that Tsarukyan is a fast-rising star in the division. Having won three of four in the UFC, with his lone defeat coming against fifth-ranked and surging fellow Russian Islam Makhachev helps to confirm the assertion. “Ahalkalakets'” has a reputation that proceeds him, and as Giagos told, he took up a fight few seemed to want.

“I’ve heard around the grapevine people are turning him down,” Giagos said. “It’s hard to get him a fight. I just took it as an opportunity to break the top-15. To get ranked. And yea it surprised me [to get the bout offer], but you take them when you can get them.”

Heading into his seventh Octagon appearance, the 31-year-old has made a major change in his fight preparation regime. Instead of being based in California and splitting training across multiple gyms, he is now basing this fight camp out of powerhouse gym Sanford MMA in Florida. Oddly enough, the same gym as Sean Soriano. The man he submitted in his last outing at UFC 262 with a brabo choke.

“I was just looking up some areas [in Florida] and I checked out American Top Team. I talked to [coach] Mike Brown, and my management kind of pushed me to go to Sanford,” he said. “They said it’s a little bit more of a team vibe, and I kind of like that. Sean’s super cool and he knows his business, and now we get to train once in a while.

“The Spartan” expects a war at UFC Vegas 37

Like many mixed martial arts talents out of Russian, Tsarukyan has shown a dominant wrestling game so far during his MMA and UFC careers. Although Giagos believes his grappling game is underrated, he also understands that staying on the ground for too long with the 24-year-old would be a disadvantage. Meaning, his mission will be to get back to his feet as fast as he can, during what he expects to be a 15 minute war.

“I definitely think it’s gonna be a war. I know he’s gonna try to take me down. He might succeed I’m sure with his [work] rate. But I’m just really gonna focus on trying to reverse position, getting right back up to my feet, and when I get back up to my feet, making him pay for it,” said Giagos. … “Get my cardio as good as I can get it so I can push the pace as well. Just never stop pushing the pace. If I’m on my back, either striking or get back to my feet, pushing him away [and] just make it hard for him.

“I see it going the distance [and] just hoping I can score big in some of the rounds and then, who knows. I’m definitely going to try and finish him. He’s young, he’s durable. You never know what’s gonna happen in a fight, and I’ve just gotta fight my a** off and hopefully pull off the victory.”

UFC Vegas 37 takes place in the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event kicks off at 4 pm with preliminary action and then is followed by the main card at 7 pm ET. The entire card airs exclusively on ESPN+.

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