Calvin Kattar, born in Methuen, Massachusetts on March 26th, 1988, currently competes for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the featherweight division. Kattar wrestled at Methuen High School and ranked eighth in the state of Massachusetts at 160 pounds, as well as fifth in the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) state championships. After high school, Kattar decided not to wrestle in college, and followed his passion for mixed martial arts. Despite not wrestling in college, Kattar still earned his associate’s degree at Middlesex Community College. Kattar made his professional mixed martial arts debut in June 2007 and won via first round TKO.
After compiling a respectable 16-2 MMA record, Kattar made his UFC debut in July of 2017 at UFC 214: Cormier vs Jones 2, where he defeated Andre Fili (21-8 MMA, 9-7 UFC) via unanimous decision. It took Kattar over 10 years from his first pro fight to make it to his UFC debut, but as they like to say “nothing worth having comes easy.” It’s fair to say Calvin Kattar paid his dues. Today, Kattar is 6-2 in the UFC, ranked #6 in the stacked featherweight division and faces former champion Max Holloway at UFC on ABC 1: Holloway vs Kattar, January 16th.
In addition to being a professional fighter, Calvin Kattar is also a owner and fight promoter for Combat Zone, New England’s longest running mixed martial arts promotion.
- Professional Record: 22-4 (11 KO/TKO’s, 2 Submissions, 9 Decisions)
- Height: 5’11” (180 cm)
- Reach: 72” (183 cm)
- Weight: 145 Lbs
- Nickname: The Boston Finisher
- Current training camp: New England Cartel
- Fighting Style: Freestyle
- Recent fights: Dan Ige (W UD), Jeremy Stephens (W KO2), Zabit Magomedsharipov (L UD)
- UFC Accomplishments:
- Fight of the Night bonus 2x (versus Shane Burgos and Zabit Magomedsharipov)
- Previous Career Accomplishments:
- Compiled a 16-2 record prior to UFC debut
- Owns Combat Zone MMA promotion in New England
Upcoming fight versus Max Holloway
Calvin Kattar will square off with former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway (21-6 MMA, 17-6 UFC) on January 16th, 2021 in the main event of UFC on ABC 1: Holloway vs Kattar. As indicated by the name, this historic event will be the UFC’s premiere on the ABC network. Saturday’s marquee battle versus Holloway is undoubtedly Kattar’s toughest test to date. In order to secure an elusive UFC title shot, Kattar must defeat a legend of the division in Max “Blessed” Holloway.
The last time Max Holloway lost a non-title fight was versus then future world champion Conor McGregor (22-4 MMA, 10-2 UFC) in August of 2013. Since that point, Holloway has gone 14-3 against the likes of Jose Aldo (29-7 MMA, 11-6 UFC) twice, Anthony Pettis (24-10 MMA, 11-9 UFC), Brian Ortega (15-1-1 MMA, 7-1-1 UFC), Frankie Edgar (24-8-1 MMA, 18-8-1 UFC), Charles Oliveira (30-8-1 MMA, 18-8-1 UFC), Cub Swanson (27-11 MMA, 12-7 UFC), and Ricardo Lamas (20-8 MMA, 11-6 UFC) amongst others. Holloway’s only losses in that span came to Dustin Poirier (26-6-1 MMA, 18-5-1 UFC) and Alexander Volkanovski (22-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) twice in interim and undisputed title fights, respectively.
In order to beat a fighter of the caliber of Max Holloway, one must exhibit the ability to either match his ridiculous output, or even exceed it. One thing Calvin Kattar has in common with both Dustin Poirier and Alexander Volkanovski is the fact that he lands over 5 strikes per minute. This amount of volume has proven to be a minimum requirement to beat the great Max Holloway. On the flipside, however, Kattar statistically absorbs more strikes than he lands.
Against Holloway, it will be imperative for Kattar to not only keep up a high pace with lots of strikes thrown, but to not let Holloway gain any momentum at any point in the fight. A confident Max Holloway is a dangerous Max Holloway. That being said, Holloway also showed a tendency to get a bit overconfident, almost bordering on arrogance when things seem “too easy” in the early going. In his last fight versus Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251: Usman vs Masvidal, “Blessed” got up to such a big lead versus the champion, that he literally coasted the last 3 rounds, and it came back to bite him in the rear-end. Despite losing a controversial split decision, more than half of MMA media members scored the fight for Holloway according to MMA Decisions.
Another interesting factor in this main event fight is the height of both competitors. Kattar and Holloway are usually much taller than their opponents. That is not the case here, as both men stand at roughly 5’11”. It must be noted that Kattar’s two UFC losses have both come to fighters taller than him in 6’1” Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) and 6’0” Renato Moicano (14-4-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC). Kattar holds a 3 inch reach advantage over Holloway.
Currently, the odds have Max Holloway as a slight favorite at -160 with the comeback on Calvin Kattar at +140. The original opener, however, had Holloway slightly less favored at -135, with Kattar as a +115 underdog. It’s safe to say plenty of two-way-action will come in on this bout all the way through fight week.
On Saturday, January 16th, at UFC on ABC 1: Holloway vs Kattar, UFC fans will find out first hand if Kattar is truly ready to take that next step towards a title shot or if “Blessed” Holloway earns himself another chance to settle his differences with the champion Volkanovski.
My biggest question is “will the power of Kattar make a difference here?” Max has one of the most insane chins we’ve ever seen in the entire sport. Holloway has literally absorbed over 900 significant strikes to the head in his legendary career and has never been knocked down or knocked out. “The Boston Finisher” Kattar has a straightforward path to victory if he can land the harder shots over the 5-round duration in a mostly stand up affair.
Another thought I wonder is “could Calvin Kattar be the first man to finish Max Holloway via strikes?” Lastly, if all else fails, can Kattar resort to his wrestling in this spot? These are just a few intriguing factors that make this main event between Kattar and Holloway a must-see fight to kick off the new year.
Most recent win versus Dan Ige
Calvin Kattar defeated Dan Ige (14-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) via unanimous decision at UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs Ige on July 16th, 2020. Ige was riding a 6-fight win streak at the time, and presented a formidable challenge for Kattar. This was the first time Kattar landed over 100 significant strikes in a UFC bout and further proved he is a worthy main event fighter for the promotion.
In spite of early moments of success for Ige, Kattar largely dominated the fight. One could even argue that Kattar does better in 5-round fights as opposed to 3 due to his propensity for easing into the fight, or what many fans like to refer to as “slow starting.”
When the fight with Ige was said and done, Kattar not only emerged victorious, but fully displayed his capability and readiness for a step up the ladder. At UFC on ABC 1: Holloway vs Kattar, “The Boston Finisher” will meet his 2nd straight Hawaiian rival in a main event at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, and will get the chance to answer questions about his place in contention for a UFC championship.
New England Cartel
Calvin Kattar trains with the New England Cartel under head coach Tyson Chartier. MMA Junkie announced Chartier as the 2020 “Coach of the Year.” Kattar’s main training partner is UFC bantamweight Rob Font (18-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who is coming off two consecutive bonus winning efforts, as well as a 3-fight win streak overall.
Kattar and Font are not only sparring partners in the gym, but close friends outside as well. They also have very similar boxing-based fighting styles for MMA. It is a very common occurrence to see Font in the corner of Kattar and vice-versa.
Head coach and agent of the New England Cartel, Tyson Chartier, fully believes in a “less is more” approach, as opposed to “super gyms” with over 30 fighters in the practice room at once. As a result, this specialized attention has seemingly paid dividends for his crew, as they’re consistently competing and winning in big fights. Chartier’s two main pupils, Kattar and Font, are at the top of their respective divisions, and seemingly only a few wins away from title fights.
Kattar will look to build off the momentum of Rob Font’s big win over Marlon Moraes, when he faces off with Max Holloway at UFC on ABC 1: Holloway vs Kattar.
In the current UFC rankings, Calvin Kattar is #6 in the featherweight division, and Rob Font is #5 at bantamweight. For Kattar, an impressive win over Holloway may seal the deal for an opportunity to meet the winner of the Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega title fight rumored to happen later this year. For Font, extending his win streak to 4 in a row versus another top 5 opponent will be key for his own title bid.
Whatever Tyson Chartier is doing with the New England Cartel, keep doing it.
Kicking off Fight Island
For the second time in a row, Calvin Kattar will headline a UFC event at Fight Island in Abu Dhabi against a durable Hawaiian opponent. After defeating Dan Ige mid last year, Calvin Kattar meets former champion Max Holloway in a main event showdown January 16th. Saturday’s fight will kick off the UFC’s 2021 campaign with a one week triple header topped off with UFC 257: Poirier vs McGregor 2 on January 23rd. The middle event of the 3 will take place on Wednesday January 20th, as Michael Chiesa (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) takes on Neil Magny (31-7 MMA, 17-6 UFC) in a battle of resurging welterweights.
Path to a title shot versus Alexander Volkanovski
After Calvin Kattar’s impressive win over Dan Ige, Kattar told Jon Anik and Michael Bisping that he believed he had separated himself from the pack at featherweight, and earned himself a big fight. The UFC agreed. Kattar now faces the biggest test of his mixed martial arts career, in former champion Max “Blessed” Holloway, January 16th. A win for Kattar will put him right in the mix for a crack at reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski.
Following Kattar’s win over Ige, UFC champion Volkanovski took to Twitter to express his acknowledgment of Kattar’s victory and presence in the division. The champ simply referred to the bout as “high level.” With Volkanovski fully aware of the contenders in his division, it is now up to Kattar to make that meeting with the champion a reality. A setback versus Holloway would temporarily derail title hopes, and force Kattar to start a new win streak.
Loss to Zabit Magomedsharipov
Calvin Kattar was originally scheduled to headline at home in Boston versus rising prospect Zabit Magomedsharipov on October 18th, 2019 at UFC on ESPN 6. The bout was initially supposed to be a 5-round main event fight between the two rising stars in Kattar’s backyard. Zabit ended up pulling out of the fight due to injury.
Kattar and Magomedsharipov ended up getting rescheduled for November 9th at UFC on ESPN+ 21. The only catch was the circumstances were completely different for the rebooking. Not only was the fight no longer in Boston, but it also moved from 5 rounds to 3 which seemed to heavily favor Zabit.
Fighting Zabit on his own home turf
Calvin Kattar fought Zabit Magomedsharipov in Russia. Not only did Kattar completely lose his “home field advantage,” but he also lost the luxury of two extra rounds to work with that main event fighters are usually afforded. This whole situation seemed very unfair for Kattar. Yet, he took it all in stride and never complained once.
In spite of losing the bout via unanimous decision, Kattar and Magomedsharipov were awarded “Fight of the Night” honors for their 3-round battle. Many fans still believe that had the fight been 5-rounds like originally scheduled, Kattar would have had a big edge in the championship rounds. To this day, Kattar and Zabit still have unfinished business.