UFC Connected - Episode 10Dec 1
Three reasons you can't miss UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen on BT Sport
The featherweight division will be in full focus this weekend with two top contenders going head-to-head on a cracking card from the UFC APEX for UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen.
The dust has settled on a wild night at UFC 280 but the big fights keep coming on BT Sport with another cracker from Las Vegas as two top ranked featherweights clash at at UFC APEX.
Allen comes into the bout in top form having won nine straight and still undefeated in the UFC - but Kattar will be looking to bounce back after r a razor-thin decision loss against Josh Emmett last time out.
It looks like a fun card from the UFC APEX on Saturday night with a handful of fights that could catch fire, including Dustin Jacoby vs Khalil Rountree in a 205lb barnburner to open up the main card.
With that in mind, here are three reasons you can’t miss UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs Allen on BT Sport.
Rise of the Almighty one!
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We’re not used to seeing this much of Arnold Allen but it makes a welcome change to have Ipswich’s premier MMA export booked in a second fight inside a calendar year.
The 28-year-old is one of the most prodigiously talented fighters the UK have produced in recent years but inactivity has halted his progress significantly over the course of his UFC career.
Since joining the promotion in June 2015, Allen has fought only nine times – but he has won on each of those trips to the Octagon, making his glacier-paced ascent up the 145lb rankings all the more frustrating to watch from the outside.
Injuries have not been kind to “Almighty” and they threatened to derail him once again this year after his career-best win over Dan Hooker in London back in March.
A stunning first round knockout of the New Zealander came at a cost, damaging both Allen’s hands during a destructive display of striking.
From the Hooker fight, I had injuries in both hands
- Arnold Allen
“I had a break in my hand after the Sodiq Yusuff fight,” he told Michael Bisping during a podcast appearance earlier this year.
“I had a long time off from that one, and the doctor didn’t want to operate on it or whatever. So we just waited, waited, and waited. I kept trying to come back to training sooner and injured it again.
“From the Hooker fight, I had injuries in both hands – it was tendons. I had two cortisone shots in the right hand and then one in the left hand. And it’s just, every time I pick up the training and get back in, something goes again. So slowly but surely.”
Thankfully the number six ranked contender appears fit and ready to go as he looks to take the biggest scalp of his career against the man positioned one step above him on the featherweight ladder.
Allen pocketed a third performance bonus of his UFC tenure after that brutal TKO win over Dan Hooker earlier this year – a victory that also handed the Englishman his first stoppage by strikes in the promotion.
Fight fans will be hoping that can be the start of a mean streak for Allen who has not always been able to put the exclamation point on his victories that the performances have deserved up until this point.
He’s been able to count on some of the best minds in the business in his preparations for his upcoming fight against Kattar too, training alongside the newly-crowned welterweight champion Leon Edwards at Team Renegade MMA in the Midlands while still taking counsel from long-time coach Firas Zahabi of Tristar MMA in Montreal.
Can Allen take inspiration from Edwards and become the next “nice guy” to shake up the MMA world?
The road to Kattar
Calvin Kattar might feel he should be in a much better position than the one in which he currently finds himself.
The American featherweight came up on the wrong side of a close points decision against fellow contender Josh Emmett on his last trip to the Octagon in a result that many feel short-changed the man from Massachusetts.
As a result, Kattar now finds himself defending his top five ranking rather than calling his shot for a crack at the 145lb title – and he’s facing another tough fight in the form of the surging Allen.
Kattar has never done things the easy way though having shared the Octagon with some of the very best in the business, from Shane Burgos and Zabit Magomedsharipov to Max Holloway and Giga Chikadze.
I’ve just got to leave it all out there, whatever that may look like
- Calvin Kattar
The 34-year-old has become appointment viewing along the way, always leaving a piece of himself inside the Octagon; Kattar is currently on a three-fight streak of bonuses and has been rewarded for his fan-friendly style with a sixth UFC main event.
Speaking to UFC.com this week, Kattar said he was ready to go into deep waters once again against Allen, who has never been beaten inside the Octagon.
“I’ve just got to leave it all out there, whatever that may look like, whatever that is on fight night,” he said.
“I've had fights where I didn't necessarily do that and those ones hurt the most. You can walk out of there healthy, not leaving it all in there, and it hurts more than a fight that you might have gone all-in for and didn't go your way. That s**t heals up, but not letting it all go and leaving it all out there, that’s what stings the most.
“Fight day, I gotta leave it all out there and trust in my preparation and do what I got to do to get my hand raised by any means necessary.”
Can the veteran warrior hold off the rising young star of the division – or will there be a changing of the guard in Las Vegas?
Light heavyweight, lights out?
You’ll struggle to find a better fight that opens a Fight Night main card for the rest of the year than this cracker between Dustin Jacoby and Khalil Rountree Jr.
The two 205lb rivals have made a name for themselves in the UFC as ferocious power strikers and both come into the bout off the back of big knockout wins that saw both fighters take home a performance bonus cheque.
But something has to give on Saturday night when the Octagon door closes as Rountree Jr looks to inflict the first defeat of Jacoby’s second UFC career.
Jacoby spent two fights in the UFC more than a decade ago but was cut after a pair of losses and has since enjoyed a nomadic existence across the world of MMA, fighting under for a range of promotions including World Series of Fighting, Bellator, Titan FC and Rizin.
Since returning to the UFC however, the 34-year-old has looked much more at home, going seven undefeated after coming through Dana White’s Contender Series back in August 2020.
Now looking to make a march towards the top 10, Jacoby will be looking to produce another eye-catching performance to help get him the backing he needs to push on in 2023.
But Rountree Jr will be no walk in the park for “The Hanyak” having proven himself to be a handful for anyone in the division over the course of his six-year stay in the UFC so far.
The 32-year-old has never been able to piece together a three-fight win streak through and will be looking to make history by doing so in style against an opponent in the top 15.
Who will triumph in this battle of the big hitters? You don’t want to miss it!