After never going to his corner in his first 10 fights, he’s won by decision in four of his last six. His ground work, which we first saw lengthy glimpses of when he beat Andrew Montanez for the NABC lightweight title in 2009, is impeccable.
On Saturday, when his gameplan got thrown out the window because of Almeida’s range being more of a factor than Kattar thought, he wasn’t fazed. You didn’t see a frustrated fighter unsure of what to do when his plan wasn’t working. He simply adjusted. He took the fight to the ground where he’s a better wrestler, neutralized Almeida’s reach advantage and scored points.
“I’m proud of the way I was able to adjust,” Kattar said. “But the way we were headed, I knew we were both in it for the long haul so I needed to make sure I saved enough of that energy for the second and third rounds. It’s not easy with this (weight cut), but I was able to do it. I’m definitely proud of this fight.”
In the third and final round, he saved enough strength to nearly snatch an armbar on Almeida, who heroically fought through it because of his courage despite what might have been an arm injury.
“(Almeida) proved he’s a champion,” Kattar said. “His stock didn’t fall at all in my opinion. That’s the type of fight where it will open doors for both of us.”
Kattar and Almeida both wanted to prove something Saturday, and both did. Almeida proved he’s major-league fighter who will scrap to the end. Kattar proved to the masses that he’s a reinvention of himself. He proved he’s ready for the big leagues.
Kudos to Bautista: The show centered around former six-time WWE champion Dave Bautista, who made his debut at heavyweight in the main event, defeating Vince Lucero by TKO (punches) in the first round. After the fight, it was announced that Bautista had donated his entire salary for the fight to Children’s Hospital.
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