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UFC Fight Night 163 card: Zabit Magomedsharipov vs Calvin Kattar full fight preview

UFC Fight Night Zabit v Kattar: Ultimate Media Day Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight talents Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar will clash TODAY (Nov. 9, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 163 from inside CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia.

Is Magomedsharipov the next champion from Dagestani? Just a few fights into his UFC career, “ZaBeast” is making a solid case for himself, showing a pretty world-class mix of skills to largely dominate the opposition. This is another stiff test for Magomedsharipov, but it could be the last one before he receives a title eliminator bout. In a similarly short span of time, Kattar has been massively impressive as well. I’d argue that “The Boston Finisher” has actually faced a significantly higher level of opposition than his foe, and for the most part, he’s impressed at every turn.

Both men have displayed a ton of talent, but now it’s time for one to leap into the title mix. Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man.

Zabit Magomedsharipov

Record: 17-1
Key Wins: Jeremy Stephens (UFC 235), Kyle Bochniak (UFC 223), Sheymon Moraes (UFC Fight Night 122), Brandon Davis (UFC 228)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Magomedsharipov is a high-level kicker with a deep traditional martial arts background, but he’s also an excellent wrestler. That’s a particularly dangerous combination, one that has so far flustered each of his opponents.

In Magomedsharipov’s last appearance, he did prove something quite important: he can execute a game plan. “ZaBeast” pretty perfectly neutralized Jeremy Stephens for the first two rounds, first by simply moving his feet and kicking, and then by baiting Stephens to over-commit and capitalizing with his wrestling.

Magomedsharipov’s feet slowed in the third, and that is a worry here, but it didn’t matter much considering he was ahead on the cards. Against Kattar, similar smarts will be necessary.

First and foremost, Magomedsharipov needs to eliminate the jab as much as possible. Switching Southpaw and hand-fighting would be a smart tactic, as would ripping a low kick each and every time Kattar steps with his lead leg. If Magomedsharipov can take away Kattar’s best weapon, his night grows much easier.

In addition, Magomedsharipov’s high kicks and spin kicks should prove effective in limiting Kattar’s head movement. Kattar is a slick boxer, but if Magomedsharipov’s kicks are landing effectively, the Dagestani athlete should be able to do good work with his hands as well.

If none of that works, it might be time to go full Khabib and see if he can simply grind Kattar into dust.

Calvin Kattar

Record: 20-3
Key Wins: Ricardo Lamas (UFC 238), Shane Burgos (UFC 220), Andre Fili (UFC 214)
Key Losses: Renato Moicano (UFC 223)
Keys to Victory: Kattar is one of the sharpest boxers in the division, a man with an intelligent jab and fantastic punch mechanics. Nine of his wins have landed via knockout, including three of his UFC victories.

As discussed above, the two potential problems for Kattar — and all of Magomedsharipov’s opponents really — are the kicks and the takedowns. If Kattar is too hesitant at distance, he’ll get out-pointed and likely take a lot of damage to the legs. Too much aggression will result in easy takedowns for “ZaBeast,” who’s proven a dangerous man from top control.

It’s a fine line to walk, perhaps too fine to navigate perfectly. If Kattar is to err more to one direction than the other, I’d much prefer to see the boxer up the pressure and activity for a few reasons.

Kattar’s takedown defense has thus far held up, and he has the experience necessary to survive some bad positions if need be. Plus, if Magomedsharipov has showed a weakness, it’s slowing down later in fights. By forcing a high-pace bout — possibly with some extra wrestling — Kattar increases the odds that his foe tires.

He also increases the odds that at some point, his right hand connects clean, and that’s really what it’s all about!

Bottom Line: This is an excellent Featherweight showcase, though it’s a shame it’s not five rounds.

Magomedsharipov has a ton of hype behind him, and his first main event slot is a considerable opportunity. In fact, a win here could earn him a title shot, as there’s no ranked ahead of him that’s really in contention right now. At worst, it sets him up for a title eliminator bout next.

Kattar is ranked a few slots below Magomedsharipov at No. 11, but he has the chance to steal the Dagestani’s position and insert himself right into the title mix as well. A win here would make it three quality victories in a row, and being the first man to defeat “ZaBeast” in the Octagon would do wonders for his name value. Like his foe, the most likely result of a victory is a No. 1 contender’s match next.

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 163 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 163: “Zabit vs. Kattar” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

At UFC Fight Night 163, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar will throw down in the main event. Which man will earn the victory?

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