The headline act, a featherweight showdown between #5 Calvin Kattar and #8 Dan Ige, poses serious consequences for the featherweight division. Lose, and fall behind the huge talent pool clawing for your number. Win, and lay down a convincing claim to a title shot. UFC on ESPN 13, 16 July 2020.

“I’ll be back” – Dana ‘juicier Schwarzenegger’ White. The UFC is back on a weekday! Mid-week events usually transpire as diluted fight night cards which rely heavily upon two ranked opponents heading the bill. This week it has been spiced up a little, with the fights occurring on Yas Island (i.e. Fight Island™️) and the headline fight providing an entertaining stylistic match-up. The rest of the card? Business as usual I’m afraid.

Fun fact, this card at one point in time had planned to bring in a real-life Neo-Nazi. It was only in the past few days that the UFC realised their mistake and subsequently cut ties with the newly signed 24-year-old, Timo Feucht. Arrested in January 2016, alongside 210 other far-right rioters rampaging across Leipzig in response to a series of sexual assaults perpetrated by migrants, Feucht has ever since tried to distance himself from his past (see below). No longer on the UFC roster, it is unlikely we will ever see Feucht compete in the octagon, and perhaps have lost our historical chance to witness the first Neo-Nazi to compete under the UFC banner.

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There was a time in my life when I wasn’t the focused athlete and dad that I am now. Yes, I did things in my past that I am not proud of. I was a fanatic football fan and I kicked over the traces. But there were moments that have led me to reconsider who I wanted to be in life. At the beginning of 2018, I received the biggest gift that can happen to any human being when my son Arthur was born. I felt what it was like to have responsibility for another tiny human. I realized that if not before, now was the time that I had to turn my life around by 180 degrees. I want a good future for my son and our family. This was the time I also started training at Allstars in Sweden. It is a big international gym with athletes from every nationality and walk of life. My friend and coach Selman Berisha saw something with me and picked me to become one of UFC contender Alex Gustafsson’s main training partners. Through my development as an athlete, I qualified first for the Contender Series and now I’ve been given the opportunity to be part of this unique UFC Fight Island experience. What makes me sad is that it is because of things I did when I was 19 years old that I should lose the dream of my life even though I have long moved on from what was in the past. I clearly would like to state that I never had any extreme political opinion, but I was a teenager who was young and dumb. Now, I have an Arabic Muslim family member that I am very close with and I train with people from all religions and walks of life. I have an international coaching staff made of Albanians, Brazilians, Russians and Swedes. There is just one thing that I’m asking for: Please don’t judge me based on things that happened almost five years ago. I was immature and hanging with the wrong crowd. Please see what I have sacrificed to make it here. Please see the man I have become. I discovered Martial Arts and that has saved my life. The sport has led me onto the right path. I want nothing more than becoming a role model for young kids who have had to go through the same that I did. @danawhite @mickmaynard2 @ufc @ufceurope #ufc #ufceurope

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Timo Feucht’s Instagram post from 10 July 2020, apologising for his past decisions and asking for forgiveness.

In a departure from the 1930-40s, we must also wag the finger of shame at two other fighters who find themselves in the naughty corner. Missing weight by three pounds, both Abdul Razak Alhassan and Chris Fishgold have been fined 20% of their purse and a 5-minute timeout in the ‘Pintsized Interests’ room of shame.

Main Event

Featherweight (145)

Calvin Kattar (21-4) vs Dan Ige (14-2)

Banger of a fight whatever direction it takes. Ige loves to fight on the front foot with volume and pressure whilst Kattar prefers to sit back and land textbook counter combinations. Ige is coming into the bout with a win over kicking phenomenon Edson Barboza. Although largely victorious due to his groundwork, Ige showed moments of striking superiority during the bout, especially when he was able to use his feints and sharp footwork to close the distance rapidly. One key issue was Ige’s ability to remain within an in-fighting distance, a range which Ige must utilise in the Kattar fight if he is to fight to his advantages. Ige would do the hard work of closing the distance, minimising damage received, and landing one or two shots, but then would switch off and allow Barboza to simply move out of range and set himself. Sloppy ring generalship will not suffice against a fantastic boxer such as Kattar. If Ige can keep himself tucked under the chin of the taller Kattar, he can turn this bout into a dog fight which will benefit his powerful shorter shots and create the chaos needed for any emergency takedowns.

Calvin Kattar’s striking is poetry in motion. During the later rounds, once Kattar has set the range and tempo of the fight, the fluidity of movement in his strikes is tantamount to art. Kattar’s boxing stance is a double-edged sword, however, as it leaves him very susceptible to the leg kick (a weapon within Ige’s arsenal) as seen in the Renato Moicano loss. Feinting his way into opponent’s heads rent-free, Kattar is a matador in dealing with bull-rushing volume fighters. One punch knockout power is not necessary if you have the speed and technique to fire off a three/four-punch combination that will switch an opponent’s lights off all the same. If the fight goes past the first three rounds, expect a more comfortable Kattar to come on stronger later.

Predicted Result: Kattar Decision

I think the scorecards will be closer than the actual fight will be. Kattar will largely dominate proceedings on the feet with superior movement and striking diversity, but Ige will secure takedowns and ground control that swindles some rounds from the judges.

UFC 249 Results: Calvin Kattar Stops Jeremy Stephens With ...
Here at Pintsized Interests we jump on any opportunity to post a Hellbow. Pictured above is Kattar hellbowing self-proclaimed ‘Hardest Hitting 145er’, Jeremy Stephens, into an early night at UFC 249, 10 May 2020.

Result: Kattar def. Ige // Decision (unanimous – 49–46, 49-46, 48-47)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Co-Main Event

Flyweight (125)

Tim Elliot (15-11-1) vs Ryan Benoit (10-6)

Elliot starts fast but burns out quick; Benoit starts slow but has rare knockout power in a less than glamorous division. Elliot looked great against Brandon Royval until he gassed himself out after a round. Perhaps a lack of proper fight camp (looking at you coronavirus) harmed his conditioning, or more likely he underestimated his opponent. Benoit is a frustrating win one-lose one fighter who often coasts in matches when he needs to actively press the advantage against opponents.

Predicted Result: Elliot Submission Round 1

It was a toss up between Elliot submitting Benoit in the first or Benoit finishing Elliot on the feet in the second or third. The greatest fight will be Elliot with his gas tank.

How To Escape A Fully Locked-in Anaconda Choke
Tim Elliot submits Mark De La Rosa via anaconda choke in round two of their their scrap at UFC 219, 30 December 2017.

Result: Elliot def. Benoit // Decision (unanimous – 29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Main Card

Bantamweight (145)

Jimmie Rivera (22-4) vs Cody Stamann (19-2-1)

Rivera is a criminally underrated bantamweight who has only lost to the cream of the crop in the UFC. A first-round stoppage to Marlon Moraes and back to back decision losses to Aljamain Sterling and newly crowned champion Petr Yan illustrates the murderers’ row that Rivera has had to face. With surprising power in his hands, Rivera prefers to utilise his wrestling background and strength to hold opponents down and beat them into submission. Stamann is effectively a clone of Rivera yet without the top-level experience or the striking polish. Stamann thankfully comes into this fight with less emotional stress than a month ago, having beaten Brian Kelleher, and moving on from the tragic loss of his 18-year-old brother in May.

Predicted Result: Rivera Decision

This fight is the Spiderman meme where they both point at each other. Entertaining fight which will move freely from standing to grappling, but Rivera’s defensive kickboxing is more varied and will lead to him out striking Stamann.

Result: Rivera def. Stamann // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Molly McCann (10-2) vs Taila Santos (15-1)

Molly McCann is a rounded fighter who effectively links together all parts of her game; significant strikes, regular takedowns and athleticism to control opponents. Moreover, McCann has a decent resume with wins over Ariane Lipski and (dare I say it…) Priscila Cachoeira. Santos’ record is a joke. Ten of Santos’ fifteen wins have come against debutants or opponents with small losing records. Santos looked lost in her UFC debut, and will likely look a level far below on Wednesday.

Predicted Result: McCann Decision

Result: Santos def. McCann // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Welterweight (175)

Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-1) vs Mounir Lazzez (9-1)

Lazzez is a counter striker taking a big step up in competition level in his debut against Alhassan. Alhassan has a wicked chin and loves to throw heavy shots whilst moving forward. I can’t see Lazzez having the power needed to earn Alhassan’s respect and it will likely be a short night for the Tunisian.

Predicted Result: Alhassan TKO Round 1

Result: Lazzez def. Alhassan // Decision (unanimous – 30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Preliminary Card

Middleweight (185)

John Phillips (22-9) vs Khamzat Chimaev (6-0)

‘The White Mike Tyson’ John Phillips is a very limited striker who recently pulled off the biggest shock win of his career. Finishing Alen Amedovski in the first round after both men effectively windmilled each other until one was left standing, has secured Phillips place within the UFC for at least one more fight. Very susceptible to submissions, and very easy to out-strike on volume and class, Phillips heavily relies on his power and chin. Chimaev is making his UFC debut and is likely to put a striking clinic on Phillips; fighting long with beautiful straight shots during his first six professional fights.

Predicted Result: Chimaev Decision

Phillips is a tough man, he will be able to sustain a beating on the feet. One potential avenue is if Chimaev expends too much energy trying to get Phillips out early, Phillips could stop the debutant.

Result: Chimaev def. Phillips // Submission (D’Arce choke) Round 2 1:12

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Featherweight (145)

Ricardo Ramos (14-2) vs Lerone Murphy (8-0-1)

Ricardo Ramos is a classy fighter who throws unorthodox strikes and has an exciting approach to grappling, opting to submit rather than stall out opponents. Ramos also has a wealth of experience against middling UFC opposition, having won decisions over Kyung Ho Kang and Michinori Tanaka. Murphy was a last minute call-up against Zubaira Tukhugov and performed extremely commendably to secure a split-decision draw. Whilst a strong striker, it is still unknown whether Murphy on a full camp can transition effectively to the top level of MMA.

Predicted Result: Ramos Decision

The safe bet would be a Ramos decision due to the volume of experience against fighters of Murphy’s level. Murphy did perform extremely well last-minute against Tukhugov, however.

Result: Murphy def. Ramos // TKO (punches) Round 1 4:18

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Light Heavyweight (205)

Modestas Bukauskas (10-2) vs Andreas Michailidis (12-3)

Two debutants face off in a European scrap that wouldn’t look amiss on a regional fight card. Two dudes who prefer to fight on the feet, Bukauskas has slightly better grappling credentials. Michailidis is a middleweight moving up a weight class last-minute, perhaps the deciding factor in this fight.

Predicted Result: Bukauskas TKO Round 3

Result: Bukauskas def. Michailidis // TKO (elbows) Round 1 5:00

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ❌

Lightweight (145)

Jared Gordon (15-4) vs Chris Fishgold (18-3-1)

Jared Gordon is a decent grappler who was unfortunate to have to meet reimagined striking God, Charles Oliveira 2.0, in his last fight. Gordon’s striking defence leaves a lot to be desired, and is far away from polished enough to crack the lightweight rankings anytime soon. Fishgold is a grappler too, but one who has an (illegal) weight advantage coming into this bout. Fishgold is nowhere near good enough on the feet to punish Gordon’s striking defence, and he will be in trouble if he can’t secure a takedown.

Predicted Result: Gordon Decision

Result: Gordon def. Fishgold // Decision (unanimous – 30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Women’s Flyweight (125)

Liana Jojua (7-3) vs Diana Belbiţă (13-5)

Jojua got finished on the ground by Sarah Moras, that is not a good mark on your record. Belbiţă dropped a decision to Molly McCann in her UFC debut, but should be strong enough to stop Jojua taking the fight to the ground.

Predicted Result: Belbiţă Decision

Result: Jojua def. Belbiţă // Submission (armbar) Round 1 2:43

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Bantamweight (135)

Aaron Phillips (12-3) vs Jack Shore (12-0)

Jack Shore is handed a gimme win.

Predicted Result: Shore Decision

Result: Shore def. Phillips // Submission (rear-naked choke) Round 2 2:29

Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌

Prediction Accuracy

UFC on ESPN 13: Kattar vs Ige

Winner: 6/11

Method: 5/11

Round: 4/11

2020 MMA Season

Winner: 34/66

Method: 33/66

Round: 30/66

Takeaway comments: Feed me more Kattar.

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