UFC 244 is in the books now, and we go to Moscow, Russia where the main event will feature an exciting featherweight bout, Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Calvin Kattar. This is an exciting fight in the division. If Zabit gets his hands raised again then a fight between him and Yair Rodriguez is on the table which is something fans have been waiting for. It can be assured that the winner of this fight is likely one win away from the title shot.
Stats: Win/ Loss:- 17/1 ( 3 KO, 7 Submission)
Last 5 Fights: W W W W W
Zabit Magomedsharipov has a mystery surrounding him that makes him a must-watch fighter in UFC. He is on a 13 fight win streak at the moment and unbeaten in UFC. He had a win over UFC veteran, Jeremy Stephans in his last fight and overall he does not have that many holes in his games. He is an elite striker, and he is phenomenal on the ground. He has one of the rarest submissions in his arsenal, Suloev stretch. If you dissect this fight only considering the skills, Zabit has a lot more tools in his bag compared to Calvin Kattar. However, that does not mean Kattar stands no chance at all.
Stats: Win/Loss:- 20/3 (9 KO)
Last 5 fights: W W L W W
Calvin Kattar is an elite boxer. Both Zabit and Calvin are two huge featherweights, but Calvin Kattar is more powerful. He has decent wrestling to back up his skills on the feet, however, he is no match to Zabit on the ground. Boxing is his bread and butter. Will that be enough against someone like Zabit Magomedsharipov.
One clear advantage that goes to Kattar is his conditioning. We have seen Zabit slowing down in the final round against Kyle Bochniak and Jeremy Stephens. Well, that’s not going to happen with Calvin Kattar. He has a gas tank to go 5 rounds at a fast pace. With that said, he first has to survive the first three rounds against the Russian.
So how the fight between these two would go?
Zabit Magomedsharipov has the reach advantage here, but not as much as he usually has against the smaller featherweights such as Jeremy Stephens or Kyle Bochniak. Magomedsharipov will try to pick Kattar apart from the distance and he has a wide range of leg kicks in his arsenal. Inside kicks, outside kicks, sidekicks to the body, showtime kicks off the cage or spinning kicks, Zabit has it all. That apart he is n joke with the hands as well. His boxing is good enough to cause damage to his opponents and the unpredictability in his game makes it harder for his opponents to defend the strikes coming their way.
This fight is going to be a striking extravaganza. However, Zabit decides whether this fight goes to the ground or not. Kattar is very unlikely to attempt a takedown. Kattar can scramble his way back to the feet but he has to be careful against the nasty submission game of Zabit Magomedsharipov.
In recent memory, we have seen the Suloev stretch submission twice in UFC. One by Zabit and another one by Aljamain Sterling. it starts with a rear-naked choke, but if they don’t get the neck then they will look for they will position themselves and look for the left leg to stretch and it puts the hamstring through unbearable pain. It’s very unlikely someone is going get out of the submission. So Kattar has to very careful when the fight is on the ground.
Calvin Kattar’s best chance will be to out tough Zabit Magomedsharipov. He needs to put the pressure on Magomedsharipov from the get-go and continue doing that until he Zabit breaks. Most of fo Zabit’s opponents get frustrated when they are not able to close the distance or land their strikes. Kattar needs to be patient, with his reach he should have more success closing the distance than the last opponents of Zabit Magomedsharipov. Magomedsharipov is likely to slow down in the final rounds and that is when Kattar needs to turn it up to get the job done. He can shock everyone and puts the lights out for Zabit in the first round too since he got the power to do so, however, it’s very unlikely.
If you compare both fighters’ resume then Calvin Kattar has some good names in his compared to Zabit Magomedsharipov who barely won the fight against Jeremy Stephens. However, Zabit Magomedsharipov is an overall more complete fighter and he has more tools in his arsenal to get the job done. He can just strike for five rounds and win a decision, he can win on the ground via submission or he can even do it via KO/TKO.
On the other hand, Calvin Kattar will have to rely on his boxing the whole time. If Zabit takes him down and wears on him for a significant period Kattar’s striking game might fall apart. It’s expected to be a highly competitive fight between two elite strikers, but Zabit Magomedsharipov is likely to get the job done in his backyard, Moscow.
However, it’s safe to say that this is a huge stage for both the fighters, fighting on the main event of a fight night card.