Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight contenders Renato Moicano and Calvin Kattar dueled last night (April 7, 2018) at UFC 223 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Moicano separated himself from the large group of skilled Featherweight prospects by picking apart Jeremy Stephens in the biggest win of his career, but he faltered opposite the current No. 1 contender, Brian Ortega. Last night, Moicano looked to get back into the win column and return to the title mix.
Meanwhile, Kattar is one of the most impressive newcomers to the 145-pound division in years. He entered UFC on short-notice with a lot of experience on the regional scene, and he’s quickly made the most of his opportunities, rising into the rankings and showcasing excellent boxing.
Moicano targeted the lead leg early on, attacking with kicks as Kattar feinted with the jab. Kattar didn’t appreciate that, and he dropped a brutal right hand on Moicano’s jaw, following with good combinations as the Brazilian covered up. Moicano recovered and backed his foe off with some attempted power shots, but Kattar returned to his rangy jab.
Moicano’s punches weren’t connecting all that often, but his kicks were landing. The low kicks began to take an effect with a couple minutes left in the round, and a couple body kicks found their mark as well. Kattar responded with aggression, but it was clear that Moicano’s low kicks were disrupting his game.
All in all, it was a very competitive round.
Moicano’s low kicks had Kattar a bit desperate, which led to sloppier charges from Kattar and subsequently better counters from the Brazilian. Kattar found no answer for the low kick, trying to run into punching combinations, but Moicano circled well and just continued hammering away at the leg.
By the second half of the round, Moicano was punting Kattar’s leg out of position constantly. Kattar was severely damaged but still trying to pressure with little result. Moicano did whatever he wanted to — largely circling and kicking the leg — but his own offensive punches landed much of the time because Kattar’s limited mobility stopped him from getting out of the way.
Moicano completely dominated the second.
Kattar found a home for some jabs to start the final frame, but he needed power punches more than anything else. Instead, Moicano kept him back with a jab of his own, and he smashed the inside of the leg at every opportunity.
Before long, Moicano’s power punches were connecting consistently. His right hand over the jab stunned the Boston representative multiples times, and an uppercut through the guard found its mark repeatedly as well. What started as a very competitive fight turned into a clinic from the Brazilian, who completely picked apart one of his division’s sharpest boxers.
This was really a stellar performance from Moicano. Though known as a crafty kickboxer, most expected that Moicano would have to land at least one takedown to throw his opponent off. Instead, he brutalized his foe’s lead leg, leaving him slow, awkward, and extremely vulnerable to all sorts of techniques.
On the whole, Moicano’s counters are a bit slapping, but they are undeniably effective. His jab and kicks are nasty, and there’s no doubt about his grappling skill. He’s a very well-rounded contender, and he proved once more last night that he can follow a game plan.
With this win, Moicano should move back into the Top 10 considering his loss came to the division’s top contender in a very close fight. Any other top contender would be an interesting match up for Moicano, perhaps the winner of Frankie Edgar vs. Cub Swanson 2?
Kattar looked very sharp early, but his leg was destroyed before the end of the first round. After that, it was all heart and hope that a big right hand would connect. That never happened, and Kattar was picked up apart and made to look mediocre as a result.
In the future, each and every one of Kattar’s opponents will target his lead leg, so he better have an answer for it.
Last night, Renato Moicano used brutal low kicks to score an easy decision win. Who should Moicano face next?
For complete UFC 223: “Nurmagomedov vs. Iaquinta” results and play-by-play, click HERE!