Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar at UFC Moscow

It may have only been three rounds, but Zabit Magomedsharipov did his best to put his name in the title picture in front of a home crowd.

Magomedsharipov fended off Calvin Kattar with a unanimous decision victory (29-28, 3x) in the main event of UFC Moscow which was condensed due to the short notice in which it was bumped up to the top of the card.

The fight played out similarly to Magomedsharipov’s other recent performances. He won the first two rounds before allowing his opponent to get back into the fight in the third.

“Kattar is extremely tough,” Magomedsharipov said via a translator in his post-fight interview with Dan Hardy. “I wasn’t expecting him to pressure me that hard in the third.”

It was evident at the start of the bout that Magomedsharipov wanted to utilize his significant size advantage. He used leg kicks to stifle Kattar’s pursuits and limit his boxing attack.

Magomedsharipov’s movement was on display as well. He forced Kattar to follow his lead as he circled, and his offense came in small bursts of combinations when he wasn’t looking for his leg kicks.

Kattar’s volume came from moments in which Magomedsharipov got greedy, standing still and throwing bombs. This allowed Kattar to find a few moments of success at the end of the round.

There was no feeling-out in the beginning of round two. All of that came to an end roughly 30 seconds into round one of the bout.

Magomedsharipov broke out some more of his flashy strikes that are part of the reason why he has become a fan favorite. He followed a jumping knee with a spinning backfist but came up empty. His attempt at a sidekick to the head of Kattar was blocked.

Magomedsharipov tried to take the fight to the ground on a single leg attempt, but Kattar stifled his attempt.

Kattar’s wrestling defense held up well once again later on in the round when Magomedsharipov again tried to take the kickboxing match to the ground with a snazzy trip.

Magomedsharipov ended the round by planting his hand on the mat and trying for a head kick, but Kattar showed that he came prepared to deal with unorthodox attacks.

A groin strike by Magomedsharipov briefly delayed the action as the third and final round began, but both fighters got right back to their gameplan once more.

Magomedsharipov’s movement remained an issue as Kattar struggled to cut the cage off.

Midway through the third round, Kattar found a burst he needed. He tagged Magomedsharipov and put him back on his bike, and when Magomedsharipov stood in place and traded, he ate punches to the head and body.

Kattar took a big risk with less than a minute left. He tried to land a jumping knee, but Magomedsharipov read his gameplan, caught him and planted him on his back for the first takedown of the fight.

Kattar remained active on his back, but he was unable to get to his feet and find the finish that he needed to pull off the upset in Moscow.

Magomedsharipov moved to 6-0 since debuting in the UFC in 2017. With the featherweight title on the line at UFC 245 in September, he believes he has shown enough to warrant a title shot next.

“Obviously I would like to face the winner of Holloway versus Volkanovski,” Magomedsharipov said. “And I promise if I get that fight I will be ready for five rounds. I wasn’t able to prepare fully for this fight because I had staph infections and stuff, but I promise I’ll be better next time.”

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