Zabit Magomedsharipov continued storming toward a featherweight title shot with his UFC on ESPN+ 21 headlining victory over Calvin Kattar on Saturday in Moscow, Russia.
UFC on ESPN+ 21 was originally supposed to be headlined by a Junior dos Santos vs. Alexander Volkov heavyweight bout. Magomedsharipov and Kattar were shifted to main event status after dos Santos had to withdraw from the event because of an infection in his leg.
Zabit Magomedsharipov calls for UFC title shot with win over Calvin Kattar
Kattar started strong, establishing his jab and mixing in low kicks, trying to set up a big overhand right hand, but Magomedsharipov quickly put his wider variety of strikes on display to try and keep Kattar off balance.
It was clear from the start that Kattar would employ a more traditional boxing-style approach, while Magomedsharipov used his vast array of traditional techniques to attack, though the first round closed in a wild punching exchange.
Magomedsharipov opened round two much more aggressively, landing numerous kicks and continuing to stick his jab and then dancing away from Kattar’s counters.
While Kattar continued to pump his jab and try to set up the right hand, Magomedsharipov kept employing a wide variety of attacks to keep Kattar off kilter, which worked throughout most of the round.
Zabit landed a beautiful reverse leg sweep midway through the frame, but did little to take advantage of it, as Kattar quickly returned to his feet.
Kattar finished the second frame in strong fashion, mixing up his punch combinations a bit, landing a left uppercut and some solid combinations before the horn.
Kattar saved his best for last, as he had a phenomenal third round. Maybe realizing that he was most likely behind on the scorecards and not wanting to leave it to the judges, Kattar started double-pumping his jab and taking deep digs to the body. All the while, he pressed forward, stepping through Magomedsharipov’s punches, doing the most damage that he had all fight.
Just as it looked like Kattar might run away with the round, Magomedsharipov timed a takedown and planted Kattar on his back, landing inside his guard.
That should have been all she wrote, but Kattar wasn’t about to quit. He lit up Magomedsharipov with an endless onslaught of elbows and punches from his back until the final horn sounded.
It was too little too late, however, as Magomedsharipov took a unanimous nod, as the judges scored it 29-28 across the board in his favor.
Following the hard fought victory over Kattar, Magomedsharipov is now 18-1 with six consecutive victories in the Octagon. With such a streak, he’s taking aim at the top of the division, wanting a title shot in his next bout.
“I’m 6-0 in the UFC. Obviously I would like to face the winner of Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski. I promise if I get that fight, I’ll be ready for five rounds and I will be better next time,” said Magomedsharipov, who indicated that he had complications being in prime form for the fight with Kattar.
Alexander Volkov routs Greg Hardy to a unanimous decision
Though Hardy started fast, putting the early pressure on Volkov and swinging big with power punches, he restrained himself from going wild and emptying his gas tank.
Volkov stayed at distance, using his reach advantage to try and stay out of Hardy’s power zone, while still snapping off some sharp combinations.
While Volkov certainly appeared to have the better technique, Hardy stayed busy throughout the first round, quite possibly winning it on the scorecards.
In between rounds one and two, Hardy notified his corner that his hand was injured.
Volkov shifted gears in round two, immediately putting the pressure on Hardy and sticking his jab on the less experienced fighter’s face. Hardy certainly looked much more hesitant, sticking his jab, but barely throwing his right hand at all, while Volkov kept pressing forward and picking him apart with his jab and leg kicks.
Later in the second frame, Volkov began sticking Hardy with front kicks to the body, continuing to wear him down and opening him up for more jabs.
There was almost no offense with Hardy’s right hand in round two, indicating that the injury was bothering him quite bit.
Perhaps realizing his hopes to win the fight were fading, Hardy came out extremely aggressive in the final round, swinging with big left hands, still refraining from putting his right hand to work.
Volkov weathered the early storm and continued to pick at Hardy from a distance, giving a lot of respect to the power in his foe’s left hand. Midway through the frame, Volkov landed some hard leg kicks and a stinging one-two combination. Yet, Hardy wouldn’t back down. He kept pressing forward, trying to find a way to land a power shot.
Volkov upped the pace in the final minute, pumping his jab and landing even more kicks, trying to close the deal on the decision, as Hardy continued to fight but winged on his right side.
“I needed to win this fight 100 percent, that’s why I was fighting this fight mathematically,” said Volkov, defending his measured approach to a much less experienced opponent with explosive power.
Other UFC on ESPN+ 21 fight highlights
Prior to Volkov's rout of Hardy, Danny Roberts landed a stunning knockout of Zelim Imadaev late in the second round. Magomed Ankalaev closed the UFC Moscow prelims with a devastating finish of Dalcha Lungiambula 23 seconds into the third frame of their fight.
UFC on ESPN+ 21: Zabit vs. Kattar official results
Main Card (2 p.m. ET on ESPN+)
Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Calvin Kattar by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Alexander Volkov def. Greg Hardy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Danny Roberts def. Zelim Imadaev by knockout (punches) at 4:54, R2
Ed Herman def. Khadis Ibragimov by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Anthony Rocco Martin def. Ramazan Emeev by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Shamil Gamzatov def. Klidson Abreu by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Prelims (11 a.m. ET on ESPN+)
Magomed Ankalaev def. Dalcha Lungiambula by knockout (front kick and punch) at 0:29, R3
Rhustam Khabilov def. Sergey Khandozhko by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Karl Roberson def. Roman Kopylov by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:01, R3
David Zawada def. Abubakar Nurmagomedov by submission (arm triangle) at 2:50, R1
Roosevelt Roberts def. Alexander Yakovlev by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Pannie Kianzad def. Jessica-Rose Clark by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Davey Grant def. Grigorii Popov split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)