Our second of three fight nights this week comes tomorrow, Wednesday, July 15, where the No. 6 ranked featherweight contender Calvin Kattar meets the No. 10 ranked featherweight contender Dan Ige in the five round main event. Both of these two have really come into their own as of late, and are looking to continue climbing the featherweight rankings.
Kattar came to the UFC about half a year before Ige, winning his debut in a big way over Andre Fili, someone most expected to beat him. He won that fight via unanimous decision, and since then, every fight Kattar’s won has been via knockout. His next fight came against Shane Burgos on the same night Ige made his UFC debut, Kattar won that fight via TKO in round three. Kattar then lost his next fight to Renato Moicano, where he was defeated via unanimous decision. He just couldn’t get going that night, mainly due to Moicano’s leg kicks.
He then had back-t0-back first round knockout victories over Chris Fishgold and Ricardo Lamas, a former four-time Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion and a longtime top featherweight, before dropping his next fight to Zabit Magomedsharipov via unanimous decision. His fight with Magomedsharipov was the main event to UFC Fight Night 163, but the week of the fight, for some reason, it was changed from five rounds to three.
This is most likely the reason he lost this fight, because Magomedsharipov has lost the third round in most of his UFC fights that’ve gone that far; he lost round three to Kyle Bochniak, Jeremy Stephens, and also Kattar. ‘The Boston Finisher’ came on strong in round three, and most likely would’ve continued that in rounds four and five, had they happened. Kattar rebounded with a second round TKO victory over Jeremy Stephens in May of this year, and now he’s scheduled in his second UFC main event at UFC on ESPN 13.
Ige made his UFC debut with an 8-1 record, and lost to Julio Arce via unanimous decision. Since then however, he’s been perfect, acquiring a 6-0 resume in his last six fights. In all honesty, he should be 5-1 in his last six, his most recent win over Edson Barboza was incredibly controversial, but that’s the way this game goes sometimes. Ige’s second fight in the UFC showed him TKO Mike Santiago in just 50 seconds, before defeating Jordan Griffin via unanimous decision.
He then defeated Danny Henry via submission (rear naked choke) in round one, and also defeated Kevin Aguilar via unanimous decision. The Aguilar fight was particularly impressive because Aguilar hadn’t lost in the UFC at that point and had a couple very impressive wins, but Ige bettered him the entire fight.
This set up a fight with the highly touted Mirsad Bektic, who he defeated via split decision. This wasn’t a controversial decision, he definitely won that fight, but that brings us to his most recent fight where he defeated Barboza via split decision. Though not many people whatsoever believe he won that fight, he’s still an elite featherweight that has evolved beautifully in his time in the UFC, and he’s ready for his first UFC main event tomorrow night.
Calvin Kattar (21-4) vs. Dan Ige (14-2)
This is a very interesting match up, both fighters have some incredibly impressive performances inside the octagon. Kattar has some of the best pure boxing we’ve seen in the sport, but as we saw in the Moicano fight, he’s susceptible to leg kicks, and Ige’s got some very good leg kicks of his own. Ige’s boxing has also come a long way, and though Kattar’s hands are better than Ige’s, Ige has the more well rounded stand up attack. Ige has also taken down all seven opponents that he’s fought in the UFC, which is something to consider because Kattar was taken down by both Magomedsharipov and Fishgold.
If this fight does hit the mat, Kattar’s going to have to get up immediately, which he’s shown he’s capable of, but Ige’s not someone you want to fight on the ground with. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and it shows in his fights, not to mention, he’s good at getting his fights to the floor, as mentioned above. Kattar has been submitted one time, but not since his fourth professional fight, his last three losses are all via decision.
With Kattar standing at 5’11’ and Ige at 5’7”, it’ll be easier for Ige to get in on Kattar’s legs for a shot, but the same could be said about Kattar being able to keep the distance considering. However, Kattar’s reach is only an inch longer than Ige’s, that’s something interesting to consider when predicting this fight. Kattar is in his physical prime at 31-years-old, while Ige is just entering his physical prime at 28-years-old. Whoever wins this fight will just be that much closer to fighting a top five opponent next.
Who wins this epic 145 lb battle between two of the UFC’s top ten featherweights?