Zabit survives late surge from Kattar, gets the nod at UFC Fight Night 163: Moscow

In a three-round featherweight main event in Moscow, Russia; Zabit Magomedsharipov defeated Calvin Kattar in an exciting contest as he now looks to jump up the rankings with a quest towards the UFC featherweight title. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favour of the Dagestan born fighter.

Zabit displayed various weapons to throw off a heavy-hitting Kattar and disrupt any rhythm the American tried to get going. With a forward pressuring style almost like UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Zabit seemed to carry the contest and land almost at will. Kattar would find himself having some success in the first two rounds although it wouldn’t be enough to win either of the rounds.

In round two, Zabit pulled off a beautiful trip with his hands clamping down on Kattar to try to maintain the position but for beautiful defence by Kattar to get back to his feet and find some space to restart the striking exchanges.
Kattar, who entered the bout as the number 11 ranked featherweight in the division, looked to clinch the victory out of hands of Zabit when he started to find a home for his strikes more consistently. A couple of nice exchanges in the pocket was probably a lot more than Zabit needed to do to earn the victory, but he stood tall and managed to withstand a late surge from Kattar, even getting his opponent to the mat with seconds remaining in the bout.

Zabit Magomedsharipov now moves to 6-0 inside the UFC and looks set for a higher-ranked opponent next to get the title shot he seeks. Kattar goes to 4-2 inside the octagon, with him being 2-2 in his last four contests. Although Kattar was six places below Zabit in the rankings, he showed a lot of courage and ability to show that he can be a big name player amongst the other 145 pounders on the UFC roster.

This bout was always scheduled to be a three-round contest, but due to the late change and move up to the main event slot, it was too late to change the duration of the bout. With two more rounds remaining, one Calvin Kattar will be only wondering what could have been, as he seemed to grow stronger and more confident during the action.

Regardless of tonight’s result, both fighters look to have bright futures, with Russia having another strong contender for UFC gold.

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