PROVIDENCE — He’s ready for the big time.
Methuen MMA fighter Calvin Kattar raised eyebrows when he accepted a fight with fellow 12-2 featherweight Saul Almeida at last Saturday’s CES: Real Pain pay-per-view event at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence. It’s not often that two red-hot prospects, both in their 20’s, agree to put it on the line. Both wanted to prove something, and both did.
After their Saturday battle was announced, the buildup exploded. Myself and other MMA journalists widely speculated that the winner could move on to bigger things on the national stage, including perhaps a look by Bellator, Strikeforce or even the UFC.
Kattar won by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28). He proved he’s ready.
Moving forward, most 145-pounders will have trouble handling Kattar, who walks around near 175, is a tremendous striker and also has displayed superlative strength on the ground in both of his fights at that weight.
The biggest reason why Kattar is ready, though, is his development.
In just his fourth pro fight, he accepted a bout with Binky Jones at an EliteXC event which was televised on CBS under a main event that featured legendary street fighter Kimbo Slice.
Kattar, I think even he’d admit, wasn’t ready then. He wasn’t the same fighter then as he is now.
Early in his career he relied on his striking. His first four wins all came via punches, they all came in the first round, and it took until his ninth win for a fight to go the distance.
When Kattar got in trouble against Jones and even later in his career against Don Carlo-Clauss – he’s fought for Bellator and Strikeforce – it was because he couldn’t drop those fighters early in the fight.
Now, he’s much more well-rounded. Training with Wai Kru in Boston with guys like Chandler Holderness and UFC vet John “Doomsday” Howard, Kattar has added more to his arsenal.