Updated: Jan 6, 2021
Travis Lizotte "Full Contact Writer"
As we eluded to last week, 2020 was one hell of a year for Tyson Chartier's New England Cartel. While most of the region, country and globe stood still; Chartier, flanked by both Rob Font (18-4, #5 ranked UFC Bantamweight) and Calvin Kattar (22-4, #6 ranked UFC Featherweight), capitalized on the ever-changing landscape of 'active pandemic combat sports.' From right here in New England, to Las Vegas and halfway around the globe in Abu Dhabi, The Cartel went from fringe contenders to Championship hopefuls in 2020. In a year starved for positive news from the New England MMA world, Chartier and his Cartel gave us plenty to be hopeful for as they served as the beacon of light during a dark time for our sport.
Chartier lead his New England bred duo to an impressive 3-0 record in 2020, putting the pair in tremendous position to make their run at UFC gold. Calvin Kattar bounced back off a debatable late 2019 decision loss to Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1) to go 2-0 in 2020, sitting down veteran Jeremy Stephens (28-18) with second round elbows, before putting it on an always game Dan Ige (14-3) for three rounds to earn a decision, putting "The Boston Finnisher" in line for the biggest fight of his career. Kattar will headline the first UFC card of 2021 as he finds himself pitted against a man who is in the discussion for Greatest Featherweight of all Time, in former Champion; Max "Blessed" Holloway (21-6). Kattar attempts to inch closer to a shot at the UFC Featherweight Crown, when he helps introduce the UFC back to Network television for the first time since 2018 when their deal with FOX expired, as the UFC makes its first ever appearance on the ABC Network, next Saturday.