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|UFC on ESPN: Kattar vs. Ige
|UFC Fight Island Facility, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi
|Wednesday, July 15, 8PM EST
|How to watch
|Watch on ESPN here!
Rising featherweight star Calvin Kattar has been making quite a name for himself over the past two years and he will now main event for his second time in three fights. But a win Wednesday night will be no easy task as he has been put up against Dan Ige – a big-time featherweight contender in the midst of a six-fight winning streak. This fight truly has all the makings to become a Fight of the Year candidate.
The co-main event, originally expected to showcase a bout between Pedro Munhoz and Frankie Edgar, was pulled from the card due to Munhoz testing positive for the coronavirus. Stepping into the co-main event slot will be flyweights Tim Elliott and Ryan Benoit.
This will be the second UFC event taking place live from Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island and will take place at 8PM EST, meaning that the fighters will be fighting at 1AM on Thursday morning in Gulf standard time. However, most fighters have made the move to Yas Island early and have already acclimated themselves with the time change.
|Abdul Razak Alhassan
Odds are taken from DraftKings
As mentioned earlier, this will be Calvin Kattar’s second main event within three fights. He wasn’t lucky in his first UFC main event, losing to Zabit Magomedsharipov by decision in late 2019 in what was Fight of the Night. But Kattar bounced back in a massive way earlier this year. On May 9, at UFC 249, Kattar squared off with the battle-tested Jeremey Stephens. Even though Stephens missed weight and came in with a size advantage, Kattar would win the fight via second-round TKO.
The Bostonian stands at a significant 5 ft. 11 in. and has a reach of 72 inches. Known for his striking, Kattar trains with the New England Cartel as well as LAuzon MMA when it comes to grappling. He holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Fighting professionally since 2007, Kattar currently ranks as the sixth-best featherweight in the world. The winner of this bout is surely set to crack into the top-five of the division.
Dan Ige is on a run in the UFC featherweight division – but is it legit? Riding a six-fight winning streak, Ige’s last two fights were won via split-decision. He beat Mirsad Bektic in February of this year. Just last May, he defeated Edson Barboza. But Barboza had been struggling as of late and the fight against Ige was Barboza’s first fight in the lighter featherweight division. With that said, no one can deny how difficult it is to put together a six-fight streak in the UFC.
At just 28-years-old, Ige will have some physical disadvantages. He stands four-inches shorter than Kattar and will have a one-inch reach disadvantage. He trains out of Las Vegas with Xtreme Couture. A professional since 2014, Ige holds a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Jeff Doner, a brown belt in judo, and has NCAA division III credentials. He is currently ranked as the number-ten featherweight in the promotion.
Our Pick: Calvin Kattar via decision (-335)
Unfortunately for Tim Elliott, he has not won a fight since returning to the flyweight division. He was welcomed back in 2019 by title contender Deiveson Figueiredo, whom he lost to via submission. He then fell to Askar Askarov via decision and, most recently, dropped another decision to Brandon Royval this past May. However, it should be noted that the fight against Royval was named the Fight of the Night for the event. We can’t say Elliott isn’t a gamer.
Born in Kansas, Elliott stands 5 ft. 7 in., rather tall for the flyweight division. He has a reach of 67 inches. Training with Glory MMA and Fitness, Elliott holds a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and is a former NCAA division II wrestler. He has been fighting since He will, however, have a 1.5-inch reach advantage in the fight. Fighting since 2009, Benoit trains with Janjira Muay Thai and has a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He is the 15th-ranked flyweight in the UFC.
Our Pick: Tim Elliott via decision (-125)
Jimmie Rivera has been on the cusp of the UFC’s top-five when it comes to the bantamweight division, his former home, but could never seem to quite solidify himself as a contender. He has gone 1-3 in his last four bantamweight fights, with his three losses coming against top-tier opponents Aljamain Sterling, former title challenger Marlon Moraes, and current champion Petr Yan. He moves up to featherweight for this bout – his first featherweight fight under the UFC banner.
Rivera stands at 5 ft. 4 in. tall and has a reach of 68 inches. And let us make this clear – his move up to featherweight doesn’t mean he couldn’t cut it at 135lbs. Fighting since 2007, Rivera trains with Team Tiger Schulmann and holds a third-degree black belt in Kyokushin karate under Schulmann himself. He enters this fight still ranked within the top-ten of the bantamweight division.
Ironically, Cody Stamann is still ranked within the top-ten of the UFC bantamweight division. He made his return to featherweight just one fight ago, when he took on Brian Kelleher less than two months ago on June 6. Stamann impressed in his featherweight return (it had been in 2017 when he last competed at 145lbs.), defeating Kelleher by unanimous decision at UFC 250. He has won two of his last three, a draw being counted amongst those three fights.
The Michigan-born Stamann will stand two-inches taller than his opponent but will suffer from a significant four-inch reach disadvantage against Rivera. Stamann recently moved his training camps to Las Vegas where he works with Xtreme Couture. Fighting since 2010, Stamann boasts a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and NCAA division II wrestling credentials.
Our Pick: Jimmie Rivera via decision (-137)
Since losing by submission to Gillian Robertson in early 2019, “Meatball” has gone on to win three fights in a row by unanimous decision. Her latest fight came back in October 2019 where she defeated Diana Belbita. It should be noted that Belbita was deducted a point in the second round for excessively holding onto the cage.
Born in England, McCann stands 5 ft. 4 in. tall and has a reach of 62 inches. The Brit has been fighting since 2015 and currently trains with Next Generation MMA. She holds a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Paul Rimmer. At the time of writing, she rounds out the top-15 in the women’s flyweight division.
Since winning a fight on the Dana White Contender Series in 2018, Taila Santos’ UFC career has gone all too smoothly. But that’s not entirely her fault. She lost her debut against Mara Romero Borella via split-decision in February of 2019 and then had three fights in a row get canceled (two more in 2019 and one in 2020).
The Brazilian-born fighter stands two-inches taller than her opponent at 5 ft. 6 in. and will have a significant six-inch reach advantage over McCann. She trains out of her home country with the Astra Fight Team and has only one loss on her professional record. This will be her first official UFC fight.
Our Pick: Taila Santos via decision (-106)
Abdul Razak Alhassan has gone 4-1 during his time in the UFC and is currently enjoying a three-fight winning streak – all at pay-per-view events. After a loss in 2017 to Omari Akhmedov, Alhassan has gone on to win three in a row, all via first-round stoppage. His last fight took place in late 2018 at UFC 228. He knocked out fan-favorite Niko Price in less than one minute. One thing to keep in mind here, however, is that Alhassan has not fought in more than a year.
“Judo Thunder” stands at 5 ft. 10 in. tall and has a 73 inch reach. Born in Ghana, Alhassan currently trains out of Fort Worth, Texas and holds a black belt in judo. Also known for his muay thai prowess, Alhassan has been fighting professionally since 2013 and the only loss of his career came by split-decision in early 2017.
This will be Mounir Lazzez’s first appearance in the UFC. He comes into this bout on a two-fight win streak outside of the promotion, with one win at the UAE Warriors 8 and at Probellum: Dubai. Both fights were won by TKO and he is considered a hometown favorite for Fight Island.
Standing at 6 ft. 2 in., Lazzez will have a three-inch height advantage. However, his reach is not listed. He has fought more recently than his opponent, with his last fight taking place in February of this year. He trains with Team Nogueira Dubai and has finished all but one of his wins by KO or TKO.
Our Pick: Abdul Razak Alhassan via TKO (-335)
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