Calvin Kattar got his hand raised at UFC on ESPN 13 last night. The New Englander beat out Dan Ige via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) atop of Fight Island to take home his first UFC main event victory.
What was the high point of the fight?
Despite Kattar being the clear winner, the high point of the night was a strike from his opponent. After being beaten to the punch for most of the first round, Ige came out for the second with a point to prove. And it didn’t take long for him to show he deserved to be in the first main event fight of his career—he hit Kattar with a big right to the body and a follow-up overhand left that landed flush on Kattar’s nose.
After getting his nose flattened, Kattar changed tact. Cruising would be too harsh a word, but after gaining respect for Ige’s striking, Kattar certainly fought more cautiously for the remainder of the fight. He was still able to hit Ige with stiff jabs, knees and kicks throughout the contest, but he rarely committed to a flurry that might leave him exposed. That’s what conspired to create an intriguing five round contest, where Ige’s speed advantage threatened to balance out Kattar’s superior power and polish.
Where do they go from here?
After beating Max Holloway twice in a row reigning UFC featherweight champion Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski is looking for new opponents to conquer. Before fighting Ige, Kattar was ranked sixth in the division. This win will surely move him up a place or two and put the American in striking distance of a fight that could make him the number one contender.
Ige was tenth in the division before this one. It’s unlikely he’ll fall too far as a result of this loss. A win would have catapulted him past the likes of Frankie Edgar, Jeremy Stephens and Josh Emmett in the pecking order. Now, though, he’ll likely have to beat those guys to get anywhere near the top five.
Watch it now, later or never?
The fight was an entertaining and highly technical affair. It lacked the violent finish that makes people rush to their screens, but it’s still worthy of attention. I say watch it later when you have the time to pick apart the nuances of Kattar and Ige’s heady striking performances. When you’re ready, watch the entire thing here.