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UFC Austin Main Event Preview: Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett

With summer right around the corner, the action in MMA, much like the weather outside, is about to heat up, and the sport’s top promotion, the UFC, is no exception to this rule.

This Saturday night, the UFC will make a long-awaited return trip to Austin, TX for UFC Austin, a 14-fight card, highlighted by a featherweight showcase in the UFC Austin main event of the evening.

Calvin Kattar Meets Josh Emmett in UFC Austin Main Event on Saturday

No. 4 contender Calvin Kattar (23-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will square off against No. 7 contender Josh Emmett (17-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) this coming Saturday night.

As with all UFC headliners, this contest will be an advertised maximum of five rounds at five minutes per round to close the evening"s activities at the Moody Center in Austin.

UFC Austin A Long Time Coming

UFC Austin and the UFC Austin main event bring an end to two years of waiting for MMA fans in the city.

Initially, the UFC was slated to make its return visit to Austin a little under two years ago on June 27, 2020 inside the Frank Erwin Center.

However, prior to the event taking place, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic in March of 2020.

Subsequent to that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) placed restrictions on mass gatherings as a combative measure against the virus, leaving the UFC no choice but to cancel the original return trip to Austin two years ago, along with a planned visit to Saskatoon, SK due to pandemic restrictions.

Austin finally gets its chance to host a UFC event again this coming Saturday, over four years after the promotion"s first trip to the city.

UFC Austin Main Event Fighter Comparison

Heading into the UFC Austin main event this Saturday night, Calvin Kattar stands as the taller man at 5-foot-11, compared to the 5-foot-6 frame of Josh Emmett.

Additionally, Kattar owns a two-inch reach advantage (72 inches to 70 inches) and a half-inch leg reach advantage (40 inches even to 39 1/2 inches) over Emmett ahead of this headliner.

Calvin Kattar Enters UFC Austin Main Event Looking to Prove Doubters Wrong Again

Calvin Kattar enters the UFC Austin main event on Saturday night having posted a record of 3-2 in his last five fights, having rebounded last time out with a unanimous decision victory against Giga Chikadze in January during the UFC Vegas 46 main event.

The victory for Kattar came nearly one year to the day after a defeat against Max Holloway during the UFC on ABC 1 main event.

After his win, he spoke to UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping.

“Bittersweet, man," Kattar began. “I feel like (expletive deleted), but I"ve also never been better. I feel great. Giga"s a tough fighter. 7-0 in the UFC, you"re doing something right. They all counted me out this fight, and like I"ve been saying, it ain"t everybody who"s counting you out, it doesn"t matter about them. As long as you believe in yourself, that"s all that matters."

Even though Calvin Kattar had his doubters back in January on the heels of a dominant performance by Max Holloway a year earlier, he successfully proved them wrong.

Now, as the UFC Austin main event looms, can he do it again?

Josh Emmett Views Fighting As Work

In the other corner, Josh Emmett has gone 4-1 in his last five fights and enters the UFC Austin main event this weekend on a two-fight winning streak.

Most recently, he defeated Dan Ige (split decision) back in December in UFC 269, but in the run-up to Saturday night"s headliner, he told UFC blow-by-blow commentator Brendan Fitzgerald on the Fitz Nation podcast that he looks at fights as a responsibility.

“I don"t know, if I won the lottery, would you see me fight again? Who knows," Emmett pondered. “I know a lot of people say they just want to be the best fighter on the planet, and I truly feel like I"m the best featherweight on the planet, but it"s also like a job to me. I"m clocking in and clocking out. That"s kind of how I look at it."

Emmett also told Fitzgerald that this isn"t the first time he"s expressed that sentiment.

“I think it"s the lifestyle," he said. “Don"t get me wrong, living a healthy lifestyle, working out all the time, what I"m trying to achieve when you get the wins, it"s like the highest high. I sparred today with one of my buddies who"s a pro boxer and we did 15 three-minute rounds."

Josh Emmett will have to go to work on Saturday night against Calvin Kattar in the UFC Austin main event, but can he clock out with a win?

Analysis, Film Study, and Prediction

Stylistically, the UFC Austin main event on Saturday night seems to favor Josh Emmett, a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and former wrestler for Menlo College in California, with Calvin Kattar countering with a blue belt in BJJ.

Thus, it stands to reason that this headliner could be going to the mat early on Saturday.

Kattar Can Be Brutal With Punches

One aspect of Calvin Kattar"s fight game that"s shown up on video is his ability to land the knockout with vicious punches, something that Chris Fishgold found out firsthand in October of 2018.

Kattar was battle-tested early on in the fight, as Fishgold connected on several right-handed punches while backing Kattar up to the cage fence.

While Fishgold tried to piece him up even more, his efforts were pacified by Kattar, who eventually moved in for the kill when he counterpunched Fishgold with a right-handed strike to the head to send him down, ending things with a flurry of ground and pound shots to seal the victory.

If Calvin Kattar is able to score the right-handed punch to send Josh Emmett down, it could be the opening he needs to get the win on Saturday.

Emmett"s Jab Could Write The Story

In the other corner, watch closely for Josh Emmett"s jab, because if he connects on it, the fight could be over in a hurry, as was the case against Mirsad Bektic about three years ago during UFC Sacramento.

Emmett bided his time with Bektic during his first round, letting him throw some shots that failed to connect.

From there, the two men stalked one another, waiting on the seminal blow to turn the tide in the contest, with Emmett scoring a nasty jab to send Bektic down, peppering him with repeated ground and pound shots from all directions to score the knockout with under a minute remaining in the period.

If Josh Emmett is able to land the solid jab, the UFC Austin main event could be his in the win column.

Final Thoughts

This looks to be a very entertaining fight on Saturday in Austin.

One last note:

The first time the fight goes to the mat could be the last.

Prediction: Josh Emmett by First-Round Submission.


Featured Image Credits to Embed from Getty Images and Embed from Getty Images

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