Kattar has established himself as one of the best Featherweights on the world in style, putting foes down with blistering punches rather consistently. “Boston Finisher” is riding pretty high right now, looking to pick up another victory and officially break into the title mix. Ige has risen through the ranks with similar quickness, but he’s done so in a more hard-nosed fashion. Ige pushes forward and forces the action, happy to step deep into a brawl if there’s a chance he can land in top position and impose his will.
It’s a clash of styles likely to spark fireworks, so let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Jeremy Stephens (UFC 249), Ricardo Lamas (UFC 238), Shane Burgos (UFC 220), Andre Fili (UFC 214), Chris Fishgold (UFC Fight Night 138)
Key Losses: Zabit Magomedsharipov (UFC Fight Night 163), Renato Moicano (UFC 223)
Keys to Victory: Kattar might just have the best hands at 145 pounds. He gets full extension on his punches, which snap with real power, and he ties his combinations together extremely well. When he’s able to establish range with his jab and start flowing, the fight tends to end soon after.
The last time Ige faced a real boxing specialist was his debut against Julio Arce, and Arce really worked him over. Kattar is even longer and more deadly than Arce, so it stands to reason that Kattar should find a great deal of success with his hands.
Kattar has a range advantage and nasty jab. To make full use of both, I’d like to see Kattar pulling Ige into his counter punches. Ige wants to trade, and Katter can definitely counter that aggression in a big way. If he touches Ige with a long jab then pulls back out of range, he’ll be far enough away that his shorter foe will miss. If and when Ige puts himself out of position in his attempts to fire back, that’s when Kattar has an opportunity to end the fight.
Key Wins: Edson Barboza (UFC on ESPN 8), Mirsad Bektic (UFC 247), Kevin Aguilar (UFC Fight Night 154), Danny Henry (UFC Fight Night 147)
Key Losses: Julio Arce (UFC 220)
Keys to Victory: Ige brings the violence. He’s a top control specialist, one who likes to take the back and finish from that position with strikes or strangles. If his opponent won’t give up the takedown easy however, Ige is quite good at trading in the pocket and making it a scrap.
Ige is going to get punched in the face quite a bit in this fight — he’s not going to take Kattar down on his first attempt. To score the takedown he most certainly does need, Ige has to wear his foe down in an ugly fight.
First thing is first: Kattar is not the man to lunge after. Instead, Ige must methodically cut off the cage. Staying low and punching at the mid-section would be a wise choice, and that’s comfortably in Ige’s arsenal. In addition, Ige once did a fantastic job of slamming left kicks into the belly of Aguilar as his foe tried to counter punch, and that seems like a good move here as well.
Ige needs to be backing Kattar to the fence as often as possible. The fence will help nullify Kattar’s pulls and pivots, meaning it will be a more straight forward exchange of punches. That definitely improves Ige’s odds of landing without getting blasted in return, and he’ll also be in good position to drive into a shot along the cage.
Bottom Line: There’s no clear-cut contender at 145 pounds right now.
After the Volkanovski vs. Holloway 2 debacle (details), who’s next? Chan Sung Jung, Zabit Magomedsharipov, a rubber match? The division seems filled to the brim with fighters just one more win away from earning a shot at Volkanovski. Kattar and Ige are both a step behind the names mentioned, but neither are they far removed from a potential title opportunity.
A big win in a main event slot could allow the victor to leapfrog the pack or at least line up a title eliminator match.
Between the two, Ige is the younger and less experienced professional, better able to afford and recover from a defeat. Kattar, however, is likely in his prime, and he did technically lose a close bout to Zabit back in Nov. 2019. Another loss to a fighter ranked below him would definitely hurt his momentum, putting him in a much less desirable position in the title hunt.
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At UFC on ESPN 13, Calvin Kattar and Dan Ige will throw down in the main event. Which man will earn the victory?