What Happened At UFC ‘Moscow’ Last Night?!?

UFC Fight Night: Zabit v Kattar

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia, last night (Sat., Nov. 9, 2019) for UFC Fight Night 163. Like many regional “Fight Night” events, this card catered to the local crowd, featuring a ton of Russian talent. In addition, the headlining bout of Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Calvin Kattar was an excellent and high-level Featherweight contest with title implications.

In short, there were plenty of reasons to be interested in UFC ‘Moscow.’ Let’s take a closer look at the best techniques and performances of the night!

Unpredictable Volume

Zabit Magomedsharipov fights at a pretty absurd pace.

Halfway through the first round, UFC flashed a stat that Magomedsharipov had already attempted 60 strikes. 60! That’s an absurd number, and it grows much more difficult to deal with when the variety of Magomedsharipov is considered. It’s not like the Dagestani athlete was simply throwing dozens of 1-2s. No, Magomedsharipov was flicking kicks to all targets, spinning when he felt like it, and switching stances constantly.

It’s simply a lot to deal with. Kattar stayed measured and tried to fight behind his jab. To an extent, it worked pretty well, as Kattar managed to deny all his foe’s takedown attempts and never really absorbed much damage. However, he spent so much time reacting to Magomedsharipov’s bevvy of offense that by the time he finally was able to land his power shots, Kattar required a knockout to win.

There’s a lot of craft and technique behind Magomedsharipov’s success, but the bottom line is that throwing 200 unpredictable strikes will overwhelm even veteran foes.

Uneventful Victory

Alexander Volkov defeated Greg Hardy last night, but it was hardly the Russian’s best performance.

A couple minutes into the first round, Volkov seemingly had his opponent fairly figured out. His jab was landing with good consistency, and Volkov was snapping up left kicks to target almost at will. Hardy jabbed back occasionally, but he really didn’t present much offense to deter his veteran foe.

Unfortunately, Volkov never really turned it up. You could count the number of right hands he throw on a single hand. It was a smooth, clear-cut victory for “Drago,” and perhaps that’s all he was really after given his loss to Lewis and subsequent layoff. However, it didn’t really improve his position in the division.

Front Kick TO THE FACE!

It might be time to forget about Magomed Ankalaev’s last-second submission loss to Paul Craig, because the 27-year-old Russian is seriously talented.

Opposite Dalcha Lungiambula, Ankalaev navigated dangerous waters. Lungiambula is not a perfect fighter, but he is ridiculously strong and powerful, a real finishing threat. Ankalaev smartly worked at distance, landing most of the strikes, until a real opportunity for the takedown emerged. Once in top position, Ankalaev displayed his brutal ground strikes, really exhausting the gas tank of his foe with bloodying him up.

Lungiambula was desperate in the third, but Ankalaev remained patient. From the outside, he fired a perfect front kick to the jaw. As Lungiambula began to fall back, Ankalaev was already crushing him with a follow up punch.

With this win, Ankalaev has won his last three fights, including two knockouts via high kick. It’s time for a step up in competition.

Additional Thoughts

  • Danny Roberts defeats Zelim Imadaev via second-round knockout: Man, this was a really fun fight. Both men had their moments, and the fight moved through all areas. Whether at range, in the clinch, or on the mat, the two athletes were focused on doing damage. It proved a grueling war of attrition, but Roberts’ experience proved the difference maker. In the clinch, he was able to land the harder knees by first focusing on controlling the posture, and ultimately, the finish came when Roberts kept his composure and executed a perfect counter punch while the two were trading leather.
  • Ed Herman defeats Khadis Ibragimov via unanimous decision: At 39 years of age, Herman is still tough as an old leather boot. “Short Fuse” was gifted a clinch war by his opponent, which is pretty much the one area where Herman remains extremely dangerous. Over and over, Herman was able to use the frame to land elbows and knees. He destroyed Ibragimov’s nose, but the Russian continued to run into the clinch anyway, which only allowed Herman to pull away further.
  • Rustam Khabilov defeats Sergey Khandozhko via unanimous decision: Do you love wall-wrestling with little change in position? If so, this is the fight for you.
  • Karl Roberson defeats Roman Kopylov via third-round submission: Roberson proved the value of experience last night. Against a talented debuting fight, Roberson slowed the fight down and methodically broke down the lead leg. Kopylov was unusually hesitant, only really turning it up in the third. He found some success when he did fire, but a terrible eye poke from him nearly ended the fight. Rather than take the easy win, Roberson continued fighting, threw his opponent to the mat, and strangled him moments later!
  • David Zawada defeats Abubakar Nurmagomedov via first-round triangle choke: Talk about a shocking finish! Nurmagomedov lived up to his cousin’s reputation early, timing an absolutely perfect double leg to effortlessly put Zawada on his back. However, he wasn’t able to pass guard, and Zawada snuck one of the arms through to trap in an immediately deep triangle choke. It was an incredible moment for Zawada, who entered the fight with his back to the wall following consecutive losses.

For complete UFC Fight Night 163: ‘Zabit vs. Kattar’ results and play-by-play, click HERE!

UFC Moscow, The Morning After: Did We Learn Anything At All?

UFC Fight Night: Volkov v Hardy

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Here’s what you may have missed from last night!

Heading into any UFC event, there are dozens and dozens of possible questions, which is where most of the night’s intrigue develops. A basic question is the basis of every match up: is Fighter A better than Fighter B? Yet, as a fighter rises through the ranks, the details become more specific, and the questions more complex.

That’s where it gets really fun.

UFC Moscow was an event topped with a pair of relevant, important fights otherwise propped up on the backs of local talent. A lot was learned about that local talent and its opposition, but all the significant questions were focused on the main and co-main events, the only fights that featured ranked fighters attempting to break into the title mix.

I hate to say it, but it really feels like none of those important queries were answered.

Starting with the main event, what did we already know about Zabit Magomedsharipov? The No. 5-ranked Featherweight is quickly closing in on a title shot, and prior to his main event slot opposite Calvin Kattar, Dagestan’s Wushu Sanda striker had dazzled inside the Octagon. High-flying kicks, dominant chain wrestling, and crotch-ripping submissions — Magomedsharipov really appeared to have it all.

There was one big question, though: can Magomedsharipov maintain his pace against elite Featherweights? The Russian slowed down late opposite Jeremy Stephens, and that’s a major liability opposite men like Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovksi, who fight like Tasmanian devils for the full 25 minutes.

Unfortunately, the potential answer was quickly neutered when this short-notice main event was announced as three rounds rather than five. Adding insult to injury was that the fight played out extremely similarly to Magomedsharipov’s victory over Stephens: he threw and landed a lot more in the first two rounds before being forced on the defensive for the final five minutes, ultimately winning a 29-28 decision.

The Stephens fight took place back in March, yet we’ve learned almost nothing about “ZaBeast,” who’s apparently next in line for the title. That’s not his fault, and the fight itself was excellent, but it’s not a satisfying result either.

The co-main event between Alexander Volkov and Greg Hardy provided some answers, but sadly, they were not a ton of fun. We learned that Volkov can still throw a jab and flick up left kicks at a better pace than most of his Heavyweight peers. But, Volkov has nearly 40 professional fights and 20 stoppages via strikes. He knocked out Fabricio Werdum. Against an inexperienced foe with a potentially broken hand, one does have to expect a bit more than a lackluster decision win, right?

A win is a win, but it hardly moves Volkov forward. It’s almost like the fight didn’t happen.

Meanwhile, Hardy is not the ferocious ball of athleticism that his fans hoped for nor is he complete garbage at this whole fighting thing. Of the four men discussed, Hardy provided perhaps the most clear picture of where he’s at currently: an average prospect still early in his career.

He’s okay, but it’s difficult to endure all the accompanying drama for an okay fighter.

There are UFC fights nearly every weekend, and each card hopes to shift the paradigm at least a bit. It just didn’t happen last night, and I’m not blaming UFC or matchmaking for that outcome. Sometimes, things just come up flat.

For complete UFC Fight Night 163: “Zabit vs. Kattar” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

Magomedsharipov Edges Kattar In Fantastic Firefight

UFC Fight Night: Zabit v Kattar

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar faced each other in a Featherweight clash today (Sat., Nov. 9, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 163, which took place inside CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia.

The two men both showed feints to open the bout. Magomedsharipov connected with a body kick but partially ate a right hand. The two traded jabs. A couple good low kicks landed for Magomedsharipov. Magomedsharipov worked the double jab a lot. Good low kick landed for Kattar. Cross-jab combination landed for Kattar. Magomedsharipov ripped a pair of body shots. Magomedsharipov scored with a front kick. Hard, chopping low kick landed for Kattar. Magomedsharipov swept his foe’s ankle out with a slick kick. Magomedsharipov landed a good 1-2. Double jab scored for Magomedsharipov. Magomedsharipov showed an elbow, landed a body shot. Kattar cracked his foe with an overhand right as Magomedsharipov stepped forward, and the two exchanged. Trading power shots, both men landed, but the Dagestani athlete finished the round with a nice pair of body shots.

Magomedsharipov landed some early left hands and a good body kick. Magomedsharipov scored with a spin kick. Kattar had a difficult time landing his jab cleanly. Good inside low kick landed for “ZaBeast.” Stiff jab landed for Kattar, who then stuck it to the body. Magomedsharipov attacked his first takedown of the fight, but it was denied. Magomedsharipov landed his signature trip to the mat, but he was unable to hold Kattar down. Kattar scored a good 3-2. Kattar landed a few good jabs, but he ate a left hook. Two uppercuts connected for Kattar. Magomedsharipov attempted a handstand kick near the bell, absorbed a glancing right hand. The second round was much closer than the first, but Magomedsharipov threw a lot more strikes overall.

The two traded jabs immediately to open the final frame, but a Magomedsharipov low kick stalled the action. Hard left hook to the body landed for Magomedsharipov. Kattar landed a couple good low kicks. Kattar landed a hard couple punches while stalking, absorbed a left hand. Magomedsharipov shifted his strategy a bit, showing lots of quick punches without fully committing to them. Kattar ripped his foe’s mid-section. Two hard left hooks connected for Kattar, who turned it up with another three punch combination. Kattar ripped the mid-section with a left hook, but Magomedsharipov returned the favor with a counter hook. Hard uppercut connected for Kattar. Another. Kattar attempted a jump knee, was taken down as a result. From within the guard, Magomedsharipov merely held on, while Kattar showed his frustration in the form of small punches from his back.

It was a strong third round from Kattar, but ultimately, it was not enough to rally back from Magomedsharipov’s strong start. Once again, Magomedsharipov’s speed and trickery in the opening half of the fight proved too much for a game opponent.

Result: Zabit Magomedsharipov defeats Calvin Kattar via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

For complete UFC Fight Night 163: “Zabit vs. Kattar” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

Volkov Picks Apart Hardy!

UFC 229 Khabib v McGregor: Weigh-Ins

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Greg Hardy and Alexander Volkov faced each other in a Heavyweight clash tonight (Sat., Nov. 9, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 163, which took place inside CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia. It wasn’t the action fight the world hoped for, but Volkov did win a clear-cut decision.

Volkov opened the bout with an early low kick. Five low kicks landed for the Russian in the opening 20 seconds, though they were hardly full power. A good right to the chin connected for Volkov. Hardy landed a good left hook, and Volkov responded with a jab. Jab and left body kick landed for Volkov. Hardy attempted a takedown, jammed his foe into the fence. “Drago” landed a clean hook-cross. Nice jab landed for Hardy. Volkov snapped his foe with another jab and touched the body with a left kick. Volkov walked his foe into a right hand but ate a left hook.

Volkov worked behind the jab early in the second. Hardy attempted a takedown and landed a glancing right hand on the break. Hardy scored a low kick. Volkov poked at the legs. Hard jab connected for Volkov. Volkov ripped a quick left kick to the mid-section. Looping overhand right connected for Hardy. Two front kicks landed to the body for Volkov. Another body kick. Another! Hardy missed big with a spinning back fist. Hard jab connected to the temple for Volkov, who was finally picking up the pace a bit near the end of the second round.

Front kick to the face opened the final round for Volkov. Hardy blitzed his foe, landed a couple decent shots. Hardy stuck his foe with a couple jabs, and Volkov returned the favor. The combination of left jab and left body kick continued to land well for “Drago.” Stiff jab landed for Hardy. Volkov jabbed back, chopped at the lead leg. High kick landed for Volkov. Hard jab from Volkov wobbled his foe’s knees. Volkov countered a low kick attempt with a lead leg high kick. Hard body kick connected for the Russian. Volkov stung his foe with a right.

It was not an incredibly eventful fight, but Volkov pretty clearly won every round. “Drago” is back in the win column, while Hardy will head back to the drawing board.

Result: Alexander Volkov defeats Greg Hardy via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

For complete UFC Fight Night 163: “Zabit vs. Kattar” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

Roberts Flattens Imadaev With Massive Left Hand!

UFC Fight Night: Imadaev v Roberts

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Zelim Imadaev and Danny Roberts faced each other in a Welterweight clash today (Sat., Nov. 9, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 163, which took place inside CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia.

Roberts struck first with a quick low kick. When Imadaev stepped forward, Roberts dropped down into a takedown attempt, but the Russian was able to stop the shot and score some uppercuts. In the clinch, Imadaev pushed his foe into the fence, where the two traded hard knees and uppercuts. Back in the center, Roberts landed some good kicks from the outside. Imadaev pressured his foe into the fence with a combination, but he squared his hips up and gave away a brief takedown. Nice elbow landed in the clinch for Roberts. Imadaev pressured his foe, but the two landed at a fairly event rate. A pair of good front kicks to the body landed for Imadaev. Roberts ripped an inside low kick. A takedown attempt from Roberts was reversed, and Imadaev finished the round in top position.

Roberts continued working over the lead leg into the second. The Russian returned the favor, then clipped his opponent with a couple left hooks. Roberts tried to force a takedown and was flipped to his back. Roberts worked back to his feet quickly, but he ate another power hook in the process. Roberts stung his foe with a hard cross. Snapping body kick landed for the Russian. Roberts again countered with a takedown, but he simply could not hold his foe down, and the effort seemed to be causing him to fatigue. Roberts landed a couple more brief takedowns and a few good knees in the clinch. Imadaev flipped the script and put his foe on the mat with a double leg takedown, but he could not hold his foe down either. Another hard knee to the body landed from Roberts. Out of nowhere, a GIGANTIC left hand connected to the chin of Imadaev, sending him in a spiral to the mat (watch it).

Following the back-and-forth war that was promised, Roberts’ experience earned him the victory in the form of a perfect slip and left hand counter.

Result: Danny Roberts defeats Zelim Imadaev via knockout at 3:51 of round one

For complete UFC Fight Night 163: “Zabit vs. Kattar” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

Midnight Mania! ‘The Gorilla’ Wants ‘Soldier Of God’ Next

UFC 241: Romero v Costa

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA each and every weeknight!

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Short, sweet, and to-the-point, Darren Till (18-2) has called for a fight with Yoel Romero (13-4).

Fresh off a successful Middleweight debut opposite Kelvin Gastelum, Till is looking to keep his momentum rolling and prove himself a top contender at 185 lbs. There’s no better way to do so than defeat Romero, who has only ever been dispatched by the very highest caliber of opponent

It’s a gutsy callout, as taking out Romero is truly a Herculean task. “Soldier of God” has an argument for winning both of his recent losses, and regardless of what you believe about those scorecards, fighting him is guarantee to absorb significant damage. The Cuban has a reputation as being one of the scariest fights possible, and that’s not without good reason.

Currently, Romero is gunning for a title shot opposite Israel Adesanya, and the Middleweight champion is open to the possibility. However, if UFC president Dana White stays true to his word about Romero requiring a victory before another title shot, this is pretty perfect match up.

Insomnia

Given last night’s debate on fight night mentality, Michael Chandler’s post is pretty relevant.

Everyone is working with boxing legends these days.

There’s nothing better than the hybrid scrambles of an athlete skilled in both wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

Greg Hardy did show actual improvement in his last fight, though I still don’t like his chances against “Drago.”

Not a bad place to shadowbox.

This will only hurt a bit …

Matt Brown has jokes:

Slips, rips, and KO clips

Michihiro Omigawa was really good at this tricky straight armbar.

A really great knockout with a pretty unfortunate end.

Just a big lad throwing big punches:

Random Land

This is some prehistoric shit.

Midnight Music: Daft Punk appreciation night! To really celebrate, I need everyone in the comments to pick a three-to-six word phrase and repeat it a few dozen times.

Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

Fighter On Fighter! Breaking Down ‘The Boston Finisher!’

MMA: UFC 238-Lamas vs Kattar

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Slick boxer, Calvin Kattar, will throw down with Dagestani mauler, Zabit Magomedsharipov, this Saturday (Nov. 9, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 163 from inside CSKA Arena in Moscow, Russia.

It’s hard to say just how well-known Kattar is just five fights into his UFC career, but for anyone that’s been paying attention, the Boston-native has been hugely impressive. He debuted on short-notice against Andre Fili. In that bout, Kattar proved himself a finished product already, showing off excellent boxing and range control to win a strong decision. Those skills have continued to carry him up the Featherweight ladder — albeit with a hiccup against Renato Moicano — and Kattar only seems to be improving in his twelfth year as a professional.

Let’s take a closer look at his skill set:

Striking

Kattar can box, son. His punching mechanics are simply better than the vast majority of his peers. Kattar spends a lot of time picking off his opponents with the jab and rangy counters, but when “The Boston Finisher” does step forward with a fully committed 1-2 or hook-cross, he’s able to throw with real power thanks to his excellent form.

In just five UFC fights, Kattar has proven himself one of MMA’s finest boxers.

Let’s first take it back to the jab, however, which is a signature weapon of Kattar. There’s just so much Kattar does correctly when talking about the jab. Once again, the mechanics are pretty perfect: Kattar tends to keep his hands tighter to his cheekbones than most MMA fighters, and his jab extends directly from his temple to his opponent’s nose with no load or tell. It’s quick and punishing, both a weapon to prod opponents and set up future power shots.

In this section, I’m going to talk quite a bit about Kattar’s bout with Shane Burgos, an excellent fight that I would argue ranks highly among the best displays of MMA boxing. Despite both men excelling as punchers, their styles are very different: Kattar is fluid and rangy from the outside, whereas Burgos is a bruiser who stalks opponents, rips combinations, and counters brilliantly.

In short, Burgos has made a career from drawing the jab out and then ruthlessly countering with an overhand across the jab or slip a hook. Due to Kattar’s excellent mechanics, however, his jab landed frequently, and most of Burgos’ counters were intercepted by his shoulder touching his jawline or high defensive right hand.

Against both Burgos and Fili, Kattar found good success when exchanging jabs. When two men jab simultaneously, the man who squats down a bit lower and takes his head off the center line is almost definitely going to land the cleaner blow (GIF).

Aside from his mechanics, Kattar simply mixes it up well. He feints actively, will double up on the jab, and will occasionally stick a jab to the body. If his opponent starts parrying too much, Kattar will hook off the jab or fire a 3-2 to punish that trait and reopen the path for his jab to land.

Kattar is primarily a boxer, but he does kick. The right low kick and jab are a classic combination, and Kattar will occasionally mix a nice calf kick into his offense to off-balance an opponent. Against the stalking Burgos, Kattar also included some front kicks up the middle to make forward pressure more difficult (GIF).

Once Kattar has really established his range with the jab, he’ll build off it with the right hand. Like his jab, Kattar’s cross fires directly from his chin to target with little tell. As he grows more confident in the pocket, Kattar is more willing to slip his head off line and target the body as well (GIF).

Returning to the Burgos bout, “Hurricane” did not simply let Kattar jab him up. In the second round, Burgos stormed back into control by doubling down on his body shot counters and low kicks, which effectively slowed Kattar down. As a result, Burgos was more and more able to land combinations.

Fighting from the outside is exhausting, and Kattar realized between rounds that he could not continue trying to out-slick Burgos — who, again, is a very talented boxer himself. In the opening minute of the third round, Kattar shocked Burgos by taking the fight to him, really stepping deep into a right hand that wobbled Burgos. A pair of brilliantly timed uppercuts sealed the deal, but it was really a perfect adjustment from Kattar 10 minutes into a difficult fight (GIF).

It is not easy to rely so heavily on boxing fundamentals in MMA due to the threat of kicks and takedowns. In Kattar’s sole UFC defeat, Moicano relentlessly ripped low kicks each and every time Kattar tried to step into the pocket. The low kick is a devastating counter to the jab, as a good jab exposes the lead leg. Before long, Kattar simply could not move well, and he was largely a sitting duck for future kicks and combinations.

It was a dominant performance from Moicano, but that does not mean it’s easy to kick apart his lead leg. Ricardo Lamas has an excellent calf kick himself, and he tried to replicate Moicano’s success against Kattar. However, Kattar was ready for it, and he employed the smart strategy of showing punches to close distance before truly committing to his power shots (GIF) — a technique which is the subject of this week’s technique highlight.

Wrestling

A high school wrestler, Kattar’s wrestling talents have yet to be fully tested. At the same time, what we’ve seen so far is quite promising.

Kattar’s only takedowns inside the Octagon came in his debut opposite Fili, but they really don’t tell us a ton about his technique. In the first, Fili slipped while stepping along the cage, and Kattar smartly took advantage with a simply double-leg takedown along the fence. Later in the fight, a high kick from Fili partially connected with the foot, but Kattar was able to catch it on his shoulder and tip Fili over.

Opportunism is always a plus if nothing else!

Defensively, Kattar really has a great striking game to deny takedowns. His high guard may make it a touch easy to get to his hips, but Kattar does not over-expose himself while punching at all. Plus, he does a nice job of switching directions and occasionally stances while moving, which increases the difficulty of timing a shot.

If Kattar is keeping his foe on the end of that ramrod jab, they’re unlikely to be able to setup a shot well. At the same time, Kattar has yet to face a truly elite wrestler like Magomedsharipov, so this bout should prove an illuminating test of his defense.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Kattar has spent almost no time grappling on the mat. He landed a few shots from within the guard of Fili before “Touchy” was able to stand, and similarly, Fishgold could not contain Kattar for long in his sole successful takedown. Once more, this bout with “ZaBeast” has a fair chance at helping us learn more about this aspect of Kattar’s game.

Conclusion

Kattar is a seriously skilled striker with what appears to be a complete game. He’s smart, efficient, and dangerous. This main event slot is a deserved opportunity for both men to really announce themselves as title contenders, though I am slightly sad the short-notice nature of its booking will restrain the fight to three rounds rather than five.

Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC Fight Night 163 fight card this weekend RIGHT HERE, starting with the ESPN+“Prelims” that are scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. ET, then the main card portion that will also stream on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC Fight Night 163: “Zabit vs. Kattar” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.


Andrew Richardson, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu brown belt, is a professional fighter who trains at Team Alpha Male in Sacramento, California. In addition to learning alongside world-class talent, Andrew has scouted opponents and developed winning strategies for several of the sport’s most elite fighters.