Calvin Kattar continued his climb up the featherweight rankings with a workmanlike five-round decision win over Dan Ige in the UFC on ESPN 13 main event on Wednesday in Abu Dhabi.
The UFC finally restarted things for its international roster of fighters with UFC 251: Usman vs. Masvidal on Saturday, July 11, on Fight Island. It was the first of four events slated to take place over a 15-day span. Kattar’s victory over Ige topped the second of the four events on Yas Island.
Ige opened with a wide-arcing combination, but neither fighter got a lot going in the first minute of the fight. Kattar held the center of the Octagon, turning Ige around the cage, but Ige was much busier in firing off combinations in the opening moments.
Ige did a good job mixing upstairs combinations with shots to the body, but Kattar finally exploded with a combination that got Ige’s attention.
Ige shot, but Kattar shucked him off, sending him to the canvas, where Ige landed on his back, but quickly returned to his feet.
Though Kattar was still not overly aggressive, the tone of the fight changed a good bit midway through the frame. Kattar caught a kick in the waning moments of the round and again sent Ige to the canvas. The Hawaiian was again quick to return to his feet, where they exchanged a few blows before lighting things up in the final 10 seconds.
Kattar started to open up in round two. He sat back, waiting for Ige to move in, and then sniped him with laser sharp counter punches.
Ige, however, landed a huge blow to Kattar’s nose about midway through the frame, which stunted some of Kattar’s effectiveness. Ige followed with some brutal shots to the body, further muting Kattar’s counters.
Again sensing the clock ticking down, both men landed some big shots in the final 30 seconds of round two, but it was a strong round for Ige.
Kattar shifted his attack in the third round, moving in first more frequently instead of hanging back for counters. Ige kept sliding around sideways, as he did through much of rounds one and two, then darted in to landed more solid body shots.
Kattar landed a couple of his most powerful punches of the fight when Ige shot in just past the midway point of the round, but Ige ate the power and kept firing back. Kattar again got more aggressive in the final minute of the round, catching Ige with a couple kicks to the head, while constantly walking him down.
Ige opened the fourth frame with a takedown, though Kattar immediately escaped to his feet and landed a couple hard punches.
Little more than a minute into the round, Kattar sent Ige to the canvas and landed several hard shots from top position. Kattar did some of his best damage of the fight before Ige could return the fight to standing.
Shifting stances, Ige was still throwing hard, but Kattar had control, frequently landing his jab and low kicks. But for everything Kattar was firing off, Ige was still throwing with power, albeit with much less frequency than earlier in the fight.
Ige shot again late in the round, but Kattar shook him off and landed an uppercut before closing the round with a turning back kick to Ige’s midsection.
Though Kattar looked a little lax in the opening frames, his pacing certainly paid off in the fifth frame, where he looked much more sharp than his opponent. Ige was still swinging for the fences, but punches were much less accurate than in the first couple of rounds.
Ige shot again, trying to take control of the fight, but was still unable to get Kattar to the canvas. Kattar kept pressing, as Ige’s right eye started to close, but Ige kept firing back. As he shot in, Kattar pressed Ige to the canvas and finished the fight with a flurry of punches as the horn sounded.
It was a competitive fight throughout, but Kattar did enough to earn a unanimous nod from the judges and take another step towards the UFC featherweight championship.
That clearly is Kattar’s intent, as he threw some shade on his fellow featherweight contenders.
“Seems like everyone is calling out the champ right now and they’re doing it from the comfort of their own homes. I’m going out and fighting and earning it,” said Kattar.
“The champ says he wants contenders, well, he’s got one in me.”
UFC on ESPN 13: Kattar vs. Ige Full Results
Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+)
- Calvin Kattar def. Dan Ige by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
- Tim Elliott def. Ryan Benoit by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Jimmie Rivera def. Cody Stamman by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Talia Santos def. Molly McCann by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Mounir Lazzez def. Abdul Razak Alhassan by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Prelims (7 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN+)
- Khamzat Chimaev def. John Phillips by submission (D’Arce choke) at, 1:12 R2
- Lerone Murphy def. Ricardo Ramos by TKO (punches) at 4:18, R1
- Modestas Bukauskas def. Andreas Michailidis by TKO (elbows) at 5:00, R1
- Jared Gordon def. Chris Fishgold by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
- Liana Jojua def. Diana Belbita by submission (armbar) at 2:23, R1
- Jack Shore def. Aaron Phillips by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:29, R2
Kenneth Bergh vs. Jorge Gonzalez— CANCELED