Massachusetts' Calvin Kattar rode an impressive all-around performance to a unanimous-decision victory over Hawaii's Dan Ige on Wednesday in the featherweight main event of a UFC fight card in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Kattar, who thwarted all eight of Ige's takedown attempts, won the five-round fight on the judges' scorecards 49-46, 49-46 and 48-47. Kattar (22-4) picked up his offense in the last two rounds to put away Ige, who had won his past six bouts.
Ige (14-3) bloodied Kattar's nose in the second round, connecting on a strong blow in combination with a body shot, but Kattar wasn't bothered for long.
"Dan's a tough kid, man," said Kattar, who won for the fourth time in five fights. "I think I'm built differently than these guys, and I think I went out and showed that tonight."
Ige said, "Calvin's one of the best in the world. ... He's super slick. He found his range against me early, and his jab was killing me, and I think that's what was dictating the fight."
Both fighters were hoping to move up the UFC rankings to eventually earn a shot to oppose featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski of Australia.
On the undercard, Puerto Rico's Jimmie Rivera, three months removed from a bout with the coronavirus, earned a unanimous decision over Cody Stamann (19-3-1) in a featherweight bout. Rivera (23-4) was only added to the card last week.
"It was tough, taking the fight on three days' notice and not being where I want cardio-wise, but it was an opportunity, I had to step in and take it," Rivera said, according to ESPN. "Obviously I wanted a better performance, but just coming back and being able to get back in there was an opportunity that I wanted, thank you to UFC for letting me take this opportunity."
Tim Elliott (17-11-1) posted a unanimous-decision win over Ryan Benoit (10-7) in flyweight action to snap a three-match losing streak. Elliott overcame a late hand injury to prevail.
"My hand was numb and I looked down and my two middle fingers were doing a Y away from each other," Elliott said, according to MMA Junkie. "They popped back in and now I don't feel any pain and they feel good."
Brazil's Taila Santos (16-1) won by unanimous decision over England's Molly McCann (10-3) in a flyweight fight.
--Field Level Media