Lamas vs Kattar – Overlooked and Underhyped
This weekend’s UFC 238 goes down in Chicago. It is held up by the main event of Henry Cejudo vs Marlon Moraes for the vacant Bantamweight title and the co-main where Valentina Shevchenko will defend her Flyweight title against veteran Jessica Eye. Two great fights for hardcore fans.
Of course, there is also the people’s main event when Tony Ferguson makes his return to the Octagon to face a resurgent Donald Cerrone, in a lightweight tilt that must have title implications.
However, even though there are great fights up and down the card, I have not heard one person mention Ricardo Lamas (19-7) facing Calvin Kattar (19-3). It is the opening fight of the prelims and while it has no implications for the Featherweight title it does have implications in both ranking and career terms.
Ricardo Lamas has lost 2 of his last 3 fights, one of which was a devastating KO at the hands of Josh Emmett and he has dropped to 10th in the rankings. Prior to his loss to Emmett, Lamas had only lost to Jose Aldo (in his sole title fight), Chad Mendes and Max Holloway. All were elite level fighters and top of the food chain at Featherweight.
Now, as time catches up to him, he is falling down the rankings and looking more and more like a gatekeeper to the top ten. Lamas may be considering this as one of the last times he makes the walk to the Octagon.
On the flip side of this fight, Kattar is coming in during his prime. He is 31 years old and has cracked the top 15 in rankings. If he beats Lamas, then he will leapfrog into the top 10 and start being able to test himself against the top of an extremely deep division. In Kattar’s first four UFC fights, he has won 3 and dropped a close decision to Renato Moicano who was extremely close to a title shot until he got stopped by Jose Aldo.
Kattar is no joke, he is a skilled Muay Thai fighter under Boston legend Mark DellaGrotte. Calvin has finished 2 of his last 3 opponents and looks to improve with each fight, particularly with his footwork and timing. Kattar is not known for his ground game, but so far he has not had to show it.
This is where Lamas can capitalise. Lamas has a black belt in BJJ and was a division three NCAA wrestler in college. However, in recent years, Lamas has fallen in love with striking and almost abandoned his ground game. It would not be a mistake for Lamas to believe he can beat Kattar on the feet. But I personally feel that if he wants to win this fight, he may be forced to go back to his roots.
The reason this is the fight to watch though is exactly because Lamas may abandon his roots once more and turn this into a barn burner. Lamas while not a from a boxing background has superb striking and is tough as hell. Kattar though, in my opinion, will pick him apart and eventually get the win late in round 2.
This is a potential underdog for a fight of the night and everyone should tune into the prelims for this one!