Tale of the Tape
Calvin Kattar, fighting out of Methuen, Massachusetts
Division: Featherweight (145)
MMA record 22-5
Betting odds: +200
Throughout his UFC career, Calvin Kattar has said he’s “built different” than other fighters. This is something many fighters have said over the years without it really being true. However, after seeing this man go out and suffer one of the absolute worst beatdowns I have ever witnessed in my two decades watching Mixed martial arts — including setting the UFC record for most strikes absorbed in a single fight — I have to agree with him. He indeed has a different level of toughness than many other fighters. Most would have quit at several points in that bout against Max Holloway in January 2021, but Calvin kept moving forward. That toughness combined with a well-rounded game and solid pressure boxing attack make him a difficult opponent for most. He can do a little bit of everything well, but where he exceeds is pocket boxing changes and gritty close-range striking battles.
That said, a monumental beat down like that can have significant, lasting effects on a fighter. Kattar has taken a full year off to recover, but there are still serious concerns about how his form will be in this first fight back upon his return.
While Katter certainly has solid technique on the feet, his best success occurs when he makes fights a bit ugly. His fearlessness combined with his durability allows him to constantly push forward with big combinations and powerful finishing strikes. He has nasty elbows inside and devastating hooks on the break as well. He can kick a from range but his hands are his best weapons on the feet. Quite opposite of his opponent this week, Giga Chikadze, Calvin excels in high-paced fights that almost border on a brawl.
While the ground game appears to be Kattar’s weakest aspect, it’s still solid in its own right. He can wrestle fairly effectively and has shown a good sense of how to operate on the mat, whether it be on top in offensive positions or on bottom playing defense. He has shone some susceptibilities there against strong wrestlers, such as his decision loss to Zabit Magomedshapirov, but generally speaking, he tends to do well enough in grappling exchanges and that should be one area he has the advantage in this week.
Calvin Kattar is a classic fighter who does everything just well enough but is not elite in any single area. However, he is more than the sum of his parts. His incredible toughness, durability, and mental game along with his solid cardio make him very difficult to stop. Should Kattar take you to deep waters in a five-round fight, unless you have elite-level cardio and durability yourself, you’re going to drown at some point. That is especially something to look out for in this particular matchup, as Calvin is facing an extremely potent striker early on who fades down the stretch. Check back for part three to find out my pick in this highly intriguing UFC main event.