Calvin Kattar defeated Dan Ige in the main event of the UFC on ESPN 13, held this Wednesday night at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
The 32-year old from Methuen, Massachusets was better throughout the entire match, and he eventually reached the opportunity to finish the match, but the belt saved Ige from what looked to be a stoppage.
However, it didn’t save the Dynamite from a defeat.
All three judges scored in Kattar’s favor, with two giving him 49-46 edge and one 48-47.
“Anywhere, anytime, that’s my mindset. We just follow where the opportunities are at, we had a big one here in Abu Dhabi, like I said, I’m just happy to go and capitalize. It’s a great check point for me and my team,” Kattar said.
"The champ said he wants contenders. I'm the only one that's staying busy."@CalvinKattar believes he's separated himself from the other featherweights, who are "sitting on the couch… Twitter beefing with each other." #UFCFightIsland1 pic.twitter.com/0mXKFoy3am
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 16, 2020
This was his second in a row, fourth in the last five, taking down Chris Fishgold, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy. Stephens and now Ige. His TKO streak got interrupted, but that didn’t spoil the mood for him and his team.
It was his sixth win in the UFC, and so far he’s been pretty good, which is why many see Kattar as one of the few contenders for challenging Alexander Volkanovski.
Though he needs to pass at least one more test before getting a chance to fight for the title. Many are speculating with his next opponents. Max Holloway is among them, Brian Ortega too, while Zabit Magomedshapirov who defeated him already has a match against one of the top fighters in the division, Yair Rodriguez.
So it wouldn’t be odd to see the winner of this event against the champ and after that, the winner of Kattar vs. someone from the list in the title fight.
Though last night’s winner called out the champion, just in case.
“If the champ says he wants some contenders, he’s got one in me,” said Kattar who is the only fighter in the featherweight division besides Volkanovski with three victories against top 10 contenders in the last 18 months.
On the other side, Ige showed that he has what it takes to compete with the best fighters in the division. He still wasn’t up to the task of handling Kattar, but the 28-year old has so much room for improvement.
Calvin Kattar joins Alexander Volkanovski as the only featherweights with 3 wins against top-10 contenders since 2019, and he's the only fighter with multiple UFC wins since the May restart. pic.twitter.com/BWGZxBligQ
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 16, 2020
He was aggressive, went for takedowns, but failed to record any, but that comes with years. It is his second loss in the UFC, but a precious experience. He would admit that at this point, Kattar presented a massive challenge for him and that he still isn’t ready for that.
“Calvin is one of the best in the world,” Ige said. “I tested myself against one of the best in the world. I’m just gonna keep growing and getting better.”
His future will be interesting too. Even though Ige lost, there are numerous positive comments about his performance at Yas Island. For sure, Dana White and the organization will have something exciting for him in the months to come.
However, we might see the Dynamite rest for a few months, because last night’s fight was the third since the start of the year for him. Regardless of his years, it is too much, and Ige’s body needs time to heal. All three fights went to distance, and the previous two opponents were Mirsad Bektic and Edson Barboza.
The next event in the UFC is UFC Fight Night: Figueiredo vs. Benavides 2 set for next Saturday.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.