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UFC Austin preview: ‘Kattar vs Emmett’ predictions

UFC Fight Night Zabit v Kattar: Open Workouts Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is bringing thirsty MMA fans a five-round slobberknocker between 145-pound knockout artists Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett, who will spend 25 minutes (or less) beating each other’s brains in until somebody drops. Their featherweight showdown headlines the upcoming UFC Austin event, which takes place tomorrow night (Sat., June 18, 2022) on ESPN from inside Moody Center in Austin, Texas.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 79 On ESPN+

HIGH STAKES LIGHTWEIGHT MATCHUP! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to UFC APEX on Sat., Sept. 23, 2023, with a high stakes 155-pound showdown as No. 6-ranked contender, Rafael Fiziev, takes on No. 7-seeded Mateusz Gamrot. In UFC Vegas 79’s co-main event, No. 12-ranked Featherweight contender, Bryce Mitchell, steps back into the Octagon against No. 13-seeded Dan Ige.

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 Donald Cerrone and Joe Lauzon, peep our UFC Austin preliminary card breakdowns here and here. In-house pro fighter Andrew Richardson did most of the heavy lifting for the rest of the UFC Austin main card right here. For the latest “Kattar vs. Emmett” odds and betting lines courtesy of our fiscal friends at Draft Kings go here.

Let’s get to work.

265 lbs.: Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett

Calvin “The Boston Finisher” Kattar

Record: 23-5 | Age: 34 | Betting line: -240
Wins: 11 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 10 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 4 DEC
Height: 5’11“ | Reach: 72” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 5.19 | Striking accuracy: 41%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 7.64 | Striking Defense: 52%
Takedown Average: 0.51 (29% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 89%
Current Ranking: No. 4 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Giga Chikadze

Josh “The Fighting Falmer” Emmett

Record: 17-2 | Age: 37 | Betting line: +195
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 9 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 0 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 5’6“ | Reach: 70” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.28 | Striking accuracy: 39%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.10 | Striking Defense: 62%
Takedown Average: 1.25 (47% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 58%
Current Ranking: No. 7 | Last fight: Unanimous decision win over Dan Ige

Calvin Kattar lost a ton of momentum when he fought Max Holloway, even though “Blessed” is one of the greatest featherweight champions in history, because Kattar was beaten pillar-to-post for a full 25 minutes at UFC on ABC, to the point where promotion president Dana White was afraid “The Boston Finisher” was going to walk out of the cage and die. He didn’t ... and neither did his career, though bookies did have “The Boston Finisher” at +200 in his rebound fight opposite Giga Chikadze, a fight Kattar won by unanimous decision. The Bostonian now stands at 7-3 under the UFC banner and sitting pretty at No. 4 in the official rankings. That’s three spots above the power-punching Emmett, winner of four straight with two nasty finishes. “The Fighting Falmer” — which may be the second worst nickname behind Stephen “The Goddamn SpiderBat” Covington — also has 10 fights for the Endeavor-owned combat sports promotion with a slightly better record of 8-2, but he never faced a fighter like Holloway or even Chikadze for that matter. Not to suggest Emmett had an easy path to the top, I’m just not creaming my pants for a decision win over Dan Ige.

What I like about this featherweight headliner is that it pits precision against power. Kattar bills himself as the best boxer in the 145-pound weight class, which may be debatable after the Holloway drubbing. That loss that skewed his overall stats but his numbers remain superior to Emmett’s in both strikes landed and striking accuracy. That isn’t a free pass to recklessly stand-and-trade with the Californian. Emmett has just three knockouts in eight wins for UFC but has scored a knockdown in his last seven fights. That’s a pretty frightening statistic and a red flag for any standup fighter, Kattar included. Both fighters had impressive high school wrestling careers — which Emmett extended under NAIA for Menlo College before graduating in 2010 — but I doubt we’ll see many (or any) takedowns across this 25-minute affair. That’s both good and bad (depending on what you want from an MMA fight) and I think the story of this fight is how durable Kattar remains, because he’s getting hit in the bout and getting hit hard. Assuming the mileage hasn’t already added up, I think “The Boston Finisher” weathers a few early storms and plays Whack-A-Mole in the later rounds to cruise to a sweep on the judges’ scorecards.

Prediction: Kattar def. Emmett by unanimous decision

170 lbs.: Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon

Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone

Record: 36-16 | Age: 39 | Betting line: +145
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 17 SUB, 9 DEC | Losses: 8 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 7 DEC
Height: 6’1“ | Reach: 73” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 4.43 | Striking accuracy: 46%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 4.49 | Striking Defense: 53%
Takedown Average: 1.18 (33% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 74%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout loss to Alex Morono

Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon

Record: 28-15 | Age: 38 | Betting line: -165
Wins: 9 KO/TKO, 17 SUB, 2 DEC | Losses: 6 KO/TKO, 3 SUB, 6 DEC
Height: 5’10“ | Reach: 71” | Stance: Orthodox
Significant Strikes Landed Per Minute: 2.84 | Striking accuracy: 39%
Strikes Absorbed Per Minute: 5.39 | Striking Defense: 54%
Takedown Average: 2.39 (45% accuracy) | Takedown Defense: 54%
Current Ranking: Unranked | Last fight: Technical knockout win over Jonathan Pearce

Note: This bout was postponed at the eleventh hour when Cerrone fell ill and was pulled from UFC 274. Below is the original prediction from analyst Patrick Stumberg.

For 95-percent of their Octagon tenures, the Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon result would have been obvious. Cerrone would weather Lauzon’s early blitz and slowly take over with the inevitability of an avalanche as the combinations piled up and Lauzon’s infamously terrible gas tank gave out. That first bit seems like much less of a sure thing these days. While Cerrone’s always been something of a slow starter, he’s become less and less able to recover and maintain his composure under fire. Getting blown out by top lightweight contender Justin Gaethje and former 155-pound champion Conor McGregor is one thing. Succumbing to punches from Alex Morono, whose only other (T)KO finish of the last six years was a ground-and-pound finish of Zak Ottow, is another.

Lauzon’s got his fair share of red flags, of course, namely a 2.5-year layoff and a 67-second knockout loss to Clay Guida of all people, but his mauling of Jonathan Pearce showed that he’s still got a bit of the old kill-or-be-killed mojo left. Even if I can’t trust him to execute for more than a couple of minutes, he can ostensibly deliver the sort of berserker charge that Cerrone can no longer weather. If Morono’s windmills could find “Cowboy’s” chin, I don’t see why Lauzon’s can’t. While Cerrone 100-percent wins this fight if it goes past the first half of the first round, I just don’t trust him to last that long anymore. If Lauzon puts the pedal to the metal like he always has, he polishes the shopworn Cerrone off quick.

Prediction: Lauzon by first-round technical knockout

Holland’s two cents: It’s been over three years since Cerrone has seen the win column and at age 39, I don’t think “Cowboy” has anything left to offer. The former Jackson-Wink standout used to tough his way through some of his more challenging fights but that toughness has been eroded over the years. You can make a similar argument for Lauzon, though I would think — based on the Pearce victory — his erosion has occurred at a much slower (and far less devastating) pace. Lauzon by TKO.

Remember, the rest of the UFC Austin main card predictions are RIGHT HERE. will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Austin fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN2/ESPN+ “Prelims” undercard bouts at 4 p.m. ET, followed by the ESPN/ESPN+ main card start time at 7 p.m. ET. Bet on all the UFC Austin action with our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook right here.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Austin news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archives here and here. For the updated and finalized “Kattar vs. Emmett” fight card and ESPN/ESPN+ lineup click here.

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