When Junior dos Santos was forced out of his planned UFC Fight Night 163 main event with Alexander Volkov due to an infection in his leg, featherweights Zabit Magomedsharipov and Calvin Kattar got the call that they’d been bumped to headliners. The two more than cashed in on their opportunity, putting on an entertaining scrap over three rounds before Magomedsharipov was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
Magomedsharipov (18-1) was fighting in front of his fellow Russians at CSKA Arena in Moscow, entering the cage as the favorite — and No. 4 in the CBS Sports UFC divisional rankings — but had to fight tooth and nail against Kattar (20-4) from the opening bell. Kattar never backed down, bombing with big right and left hands and even flurrying off his back when Magomedsharipov scored a takedown in the final minute of Round 3.
It was the varied attack of Magomedsharipov that won out as he connected often with unorthodox strikes pulled from his Kung Fu based attack. Magomedsharipov threw spinning strikes and attacked from a variety of odd angles with an attack that was just slightly more effective over three rounds than the straightforward offense of Kattar.
The fight may have had a different ending had it been five rounds, but the late-notice promotion to main event meant the fight remained three rounds as planned. Kattar’s offense was ramping up in late Round 2 and Round 3 but time ran out with Magomedsharipov having wrapped up the first two rounds on the scorecards.
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