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UFC 223 card: Renato Moicano vs Calvin Kattar full fight preview

MMA: UFC 220- Kattar vs Burgos Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight technicians Renato Moicano and Calvin Kattar will battle this Saturday (April 7, 2018) at UFC 223 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Moicano carried an undefeated record into the cage with him opposite Jeremy Stephens, but few people expected the Brazilian to out-craft the veteran. He accomplished just that, making great use of the jab and counter takedowns, but Moicano was unable to continue his winning ways opposite Brian Ortega. Meanwhile, Kattar emerged from the regional scene on short-notice last summer, shocking fans by taking out one of the division’s veterans. He followed up that victory with one of the finest boxing performances of this year, a stellar showing that saw him jab up a killer prospect and end his night in the third.

Let’s take a look at the keys to victory for each man:

Renato Moicano
Record: 10-0-1
Key Wins: Jeremy Stephens (UFC on FOX 24), Tom Niinimaki (UFC Fight Night 58), Zubair Tukhugov (UFC 198)
Key Losses: Brian Ortega (UFC 214)
Keys to Victory: Moicano is a very well-rounded and smart fighter. On the feet, he throws a sharp jab and excellent counter combinations, often punctuating his setups with hard low kicks. In addition, Moicano is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt with five tapout wins to his credit, and he’s not at all a bad wrestler.

In this match up, Moicano’s mix of skills will be key. Kattar is the more refined boxer and has thus far shown strong wrestling as well, but he largely tries to box inside the Octagon. If Moicano can deny him a boxing match, he’s likely to find success. For example, one of the most effective counters to the jab — Kattar’s sharpest tool — is the low kick. If Moicano is digging to the lead leg each time Kattar tries to set up something, it will quickly make “The Boston Finisher” think twice about jabbing.

In addition, Moicano needs to respond to Kattar’s offense with takedowns and counters. Firing something back at Kattar every time he attacks will help keep Moicano ahead on the cards, and mixing between counters and takedowns improves the odds of both techniques being successful.


Calvin Kattar
Record: 17-2
Key Wins: Andre Fili (UFC 214), Shane Burgos (UFC 220), Saul Almeida (CES 13)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Several losses early and then a string of decisions kept Kattar out of UFC for years, but he’s made it abundantly clear that he belongs. Kattar is an excellent boxer, and his use of jabs and footwork to diffuse — and eventually knockout — a brutal offensive boxer in Burgos was fantastic. In fact, if you have Fight Pass and have 12 minutes or so of free time, watch that fight because it’s excellent.

Both men work well behind the jab, but it’s Kattar who is more fluid with the strike, hiding it behind feints more often and switching up the speed of the strike. That should allow him to win boxing exchanges more often than not, although he’ll have to be wary of getting kicked mid-jab.

Feinting in general will be key for Kattar, both to avoid those pesky kicks and to set up his own power shots. When Moicano counters, he plants his feet and swings heavy. If Kattar can draw those counter punches out with feints, he’ll very likely be able to follow up and do damage, which will in turn make Moicano less likely to attempt counter punches.

Bottom Line: This is really excellent matchmaking between two very talented Featherweights who are newer faces in the Top 15.

Moicano has shown nothing but skill inside the cage, but his position is still a bit uncertain. He rose very high due to the Stephens upset, but “Lil Heathen” is inconsistent and performed poorly in that bout. Perhaps that was entirely due to Moicano’s skill, but at least some of it can be attributed to Stephens’ impatience.

Basically, Moicano needs another top win to confirm his spot in the Top 10.

Kattar is an interesting case in that he took a while to make it to UFC, but he’s also undoubtedly in the prime of his career right now. He’s quickly making an impact on the 145-pound division, and another win allows him to continue that fast climb. A three-fight win streak over this level of quality competition should earn him a foe in the Top 5.

At UFC 223, Renato Moicano and Calvin Kattar will face off in what should be a great bout. Which man will earn the victory?

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