Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
In the early Friday morning hours, while much of the New England region was still asleep, Mathuen's own Calvin "The Boston Finisher" Kattar (22-4) took to the scales, half a world away ahead of the biggest fight of his career. Kattar, accompanied by the New England Cartel contingent, tipped the scales at 146 pounds as the New England based posse is set to kick off the UFC's 2021 slate with authority. Electing to receive that kick; none other than former UFC Featherweight Champion, and number one Featherweight Contender in the World; Max "Blessed" Holloway (21-6) who also weighted in at the 146 pound Featherweight limit. These two World Class Featherweights will now officially headline the UFC's first fight card of 2021 Saturday afternoon, from Yas Island in Abu Dhabi at UFC Fight Island 7 in a five round feature for the ages.
This is a match up that has left both New England fans, as well as fight fans from around the globe salivating. A match up between two exciting brawlers; one, Max Holloway, looking to return to the top of the Featherweight division where he reigned supreme for nearly half a decade, becoming the most decorated UFC Featherweight of all time. The other, Calvin Kattar, will not be intimidated by Holloway's list of accolades; as he sees Holloway as just another rung in the ladder between himself and UFC Gold.
As for all the hype around this fight; it is very warranted, both Kattar and Holloway are incapable of being in boring fights. Both men are strikers, through and through, the former Champion Holloway employs a steady output of finesse striking, often overwhelming his opponents with the shear volume of his strikes. Once Max has you where he wants you; blistered and bruised, his killer instinct kicks in, leading to 9 career knockouts inside the UFC cage on his way to becoming on of the greatest 145 pound mixed martial artists of all time. Max is anxious to further cement that legacy, by re-capturing that UFC 145 pound strap, following back to back decision losses for current Champion Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) a win against the surging Kattar is a must if Max hopes to get another shot at the belt.
"Not so fast Maxy," Calvin Kattar cares not about your hopes and dreams, he has his eyes set on that Gold as well and as he has said in the past, anyone standing between him and the strap "Can Get it!" Kattar is all about making his own legacy in this game, you're either with the Cartel or you're in their way and that is the mantra Kattar his lived by since making his UFC debut. Now the owner of four knockouts across his six UFC victories, including a current two fight win streak over Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige; Kattar is here to stay and he has no problem testing chins all the way to the top of the Featherweight division.
Like Holloway, Kattar loves to throw hands, but that's really where the similarities stop, where Holloway likes to finesse and lead the dance, Kattar throws every strike with intention to knock your head off. Kattar's ability to counter-strike and pick his openings has lead him to become one of the more accurate strikers on the entire UFC roster. Coupled with ferocious power and tenacity Kattar poses a danger to anyone in the division. Holloway, may have one of the best chins in the game and has never fallen victim to knockout in his career, however he is on the heels four grueling Title fights, losing three of his last four fights on the judges scorecards, leaving some to wonder if the damage is starting to take it's toll on the oft durable Hawaiian.
Call me a homer on this one, I'm ok with that; I think Kattar makes a statement Saturday. I'm even going as far to predict that Kattar will not only hand Holloway the first Knockout of his career, but he will do so inside three rounds (main event fight scheduled for five rounds)! But after all there is only one way to find out; tune in to UFC Fight Island 7 Saturday, with the prelims starting at noon eastern on ESPN+, with the main card following at 3pm broadcast live on ABC network, as the UFC makes its return to network television for the first time since 2018. The main card can also be streamed live on ESPN+, below is a look at the UFC Fight Island 7 card in its entirety.
UFC Fight Island 7 Main Card On ABC/ESPN+ (3 pm ET)
145 lbs. Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar
170 lbs. Matt Brown vs. Carlos Condit 170 lbs. Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Li Jingliang 185 lbs. Alessio Di Chirico vs. Joaquin Buckley 185 lbs. Punahele Soriano vs. Dusko Todorovic
UFC Fight Island 7 Prelims Card On ESPN+ (12 pm ET)
185 lbs. Phil Hawes vs. Nassourdine Imavov 135 lbs. Wu Yanan vs. Joselyne Edwards 265 lbs. Carlos Felipe vs. Justin Tafa 170 lbs. Ramazan Emeev vs. David Zawada 135 lbs. Vanessa Melo vs. Sarah Moras 145 lbs. Jacob Kilburn vs. Austin Lingo