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UFC Vegas 63 preview: ‘Kattar vs. Allen’ predictions

UFC Fight Night: Allen v Hooker Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just one day away from the upcoming UFC Vegas 63 mixed martial arts (MMA) event, which is set to go down tomorrow night (Sat., Oct. 29, 2022) from inside the promotion’s APEX facility in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring an action-packed featherweight headliner between Top 10 title hopefuls Calvin Kattar and Arnold Allen, a five-round headliner with serious title implications for late 2022 and beyond.

LIVE! Stream UFC Orlando On ESPN+

EXCITING WELTERWEIGHT TILT! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Amway Center in Orlando, Fla., for the first time in more than four years with an intriguing Welterweight scrap that will see No. 7-ranked contender, Stephen Thompson, battle Kevin Holland. In UFC Orlando’s co-main event, Heavyweight knockout artists collide when No. 4-seeded contender, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with No. 5-ranked Sergei Pavlovich.

Don’t miss a single second of face-punching action!

Before we dive into the main and co-main events, which includes the welterweight collision between Max Griffin and Tim Means, check out Patrick Stumberg’s detailed breakdowns for the UFC Vegas 63 preliminary card — which he wrote on his Jake Paul “Bizaardvark” stationery — by clicking here. Unfortunately, in-house pro fighter Andrew Richardson is too busy tailgating in the parking lot of Desert Diamond Arena with his “Go Anderson!” signs to compile an “X-Factor” breakdown for the rest of the main card.

For the latest “Kattar vs. Allen” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends over at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s get to work.

145 lbs.: Calvin Kattar vs. Arnold Allen

Calvin ‘The Boston Finisher’ Kattar

Record: 23-6 | Age: 34 | Betting line: +100
Wins: 11 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 10 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 5 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 5.19 | Striking accuracy: 39%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 7.15 | Striking Defense: 54%
Takedown Average: 0.44 (29% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 91%
Current Ranking: No. 5 | Last fight: Split decision loss to Josh Emmett

‘Almighty’ Arnold Allen

Record: 18-1 | Age: 28 | Betting line: -120
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’8“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Southpaw
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 3.31 | Striking accuracy: 42%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 2.22 | Striking Defense: 66%
Takedown Average: 1.41 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 76%
Current Ranking: No. 6 | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Dan Hooker

Calvin Kattar was one fight away from laying claim to the next featherweight title shot. Unfortunately, he was tasked with turning away former 145-pound titleholder Max Holloway, a job that is only suited for reigning division kingpin Alex Volkanovski (until proven otherwise). Kattar was summarily destroyed by the “Blessed” Hawaiian and was benched for one year to recover from his five-round beatdown. Upon his return, the hard-hitting Bostonian proved he’s still a force to be reckoned with by thumping featherweight “Ninja” Giga Chikadze, a talented striker who probably needed to be humbled after all that “Matrix” talk. Where Kattar stands in terms of title relevance may depend on how you graded his performance against featherweight hurter Josh Emmett following their split nod at UFC Austin. Emmett prevailed but MMAdecisions landed 14-5 in favor of Kattar after tallying media scores from 19 different combat sports outlets. Making a statement against Arnold Allen will go a long way in validating supporters who insist the still-dangerous Kattar belongs in the Top 5 of the 145-pound weight class.

That may be easier said than done against the once-beaten Englishman, who is six years younger than Kattar at age 28. After making a mockery of the regional circuit the “Almighty” featherweight compiled nine straight wins under the UFC banner, including his technical knockout destruction over Dan Hooker last March in London. It was a much needed finish for Allen, who holds six decisions in nine of his UFC victories; though to be fair, Kattar calls himself “The Boston Finisher” and has seen the judges’ scorecards in five of his last six outings. It’s also worth noting that Allen has yet to beat anyone currently ranked in the featherweight Top 10, which takes some of the shine off that nine-fight winning streak, especially when you compare it to the murderer’s row the promotion has thrown at Kattar. I also don’t want to go nuts for Allen’s floor-wiping performance against Hooker because “The Hangman” — who’s now lost four of his last five — was about as durable as grandma’s peanut brittle after dieting down to 145 pounds.

The razor-thin betting line is an accurate representation of how close these two are matched. You can make an argument the aging Kattar is on his way down while the still-28 Allen is on his way up. It’s just hard for me to pick a headlining fighter who’s never gone five rounds against a combatant like Kattar, who’s done it across his last four fights. “Almighty” also has to try and finish one of the most durable chins in all of UFC, which means this fight could boil down to who lands the most (or the most strategic) takedowns. Allen may be the future of the 145-pound division, but right now I’m sticking with the present.

Prediction: Kattar def. Allen by unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Max Griffin vs. Tim Means

Max ‘Pain’ Griffin

Record: 18-9 | Age: 36 | Betting line: -180
Wins: 9 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 7 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 8 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 76” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.36 | Striking accuracy: 50%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.94 | Striking Defense: 57%
Takedown Average: 1.48 (50% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 75%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Split decision loss to Neil Magny

Tim ‘Dirty Bird’ Means

Record: 32-13-1, 1 NC | Age: 38 | Betting line: +155
Wins: 19 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 6 SUB, 5 DEC
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 75” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 5.01 | Striking accuracy: 48%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 3.63 | Striking Defense: 61%
Takedown Average: 1.02 (39% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 66%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Submission loss to Kevin Holland

Max Griffin has been in the fight game for well over a decade and first introduced himself to UFC fans by way of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 16, where the Californian was bounced in the third round of his elimination fight against Matt Secor, who would go on to lose his very next TUF fight and never make it to UFC. Griffin, however, stayed the course and did enough on the regional circuit to earn a place on the welterweight roster. Griffin would not make the most of the opportunity and barely held onto his spot in the lineup after posting a 3-6 record. Then “Pain” seemed to (finally) find his footing with his first three-fight win streak in UFC, which included a UFC 264 decision win over the tough (but admittedly shopworn) Carlos Condit, only to have it all go to waste in a split decision loss to Neil Magny back in March. One of the reasons UFC keeps giving him fights is because Griffin is a gamer and will always come to battle. I don’t think we’ll be seeing any title runs from the soon-to-be 37 year-old welterweight but his throwdown against Tim Means should be at the very least a wild banger.

Like Griffin, the 38 year-old “Dirty Bird” — who got that nickname after a bad haircut and dye job at the age of 17 — has been around for what seems like forever. Means had a previous run as a UFC lightweight and that ended after consecutive losses back in mid 2013. Means would move on to score two vicious knockouts for Legacy Fighting Championship and UFC was quick to invite him back in a losing effort to Neil Magny. The Oklahoman has stuck around ever since and compiled a mediocre record of 12-8, having coming up short in a submission loss to Kevin Holland last June. Spending a decade in UFC and remaining unranked at 170 pounds is definitive proof that what you see is what you get; meaning, don’t expect anything different when Means takes the cage this weekend in Las Vegas. Considering his action first, defense second style of fighting, that may not be a bad thing for the short-attention spans of today’s fans. Means has lost almost half his fights by way of submission but I doubt that’s a concern against Griffin, who has yet to register a submission victory in his UFC career. Similarly, Means has only been stopped by strikes once in his 18-year career. Expect a fun, back-and-forth brawl between two grizzled veterans with nothing to lose, but if you’re looking for a winner, I think Griffin is the fresher, more powerful fighter.

Prediction: Griffin def. Means by unanimous decision

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Vegas 63 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+ preliminary card bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Vegas 63 news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive here. For the updated and finalized “Kattar vs. Allen” fight card and ESPN+ line up click here.

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