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UFC On ABC: Why Calvin Kattar Can Defeat Max Holloway

Max Holloway enters Saturday’s UFC on ABC event as the odds-on favorite to win in the main event, but Calvin Kattar is more than a game opponent.

The event is the first to air on network television in several years, and the first under the new agreement between the UFC and ESPN/ABC. It is set from Abu Dhabi and Fight Island, airing live on both ABC and ESPN+.

Holloway, a former UFC featherweight champion, was unbeaten from 2014 to 2019. During that time, he scored wins over Jose Aldo, Brian Ortega and several others before bumping up to lightweight and falling to Dustin Poirier.

But in Kattar, Holloway is getting a very difficult, very talented and very tough opponent.

The 32-year-old from Metheun, Massachusetts features a boxing-based style that has led to 11 knockout wins in his career. Overall, Kattar is 22-4 with two more victories coming by way of submission.

Kattar also earned medals as a high school wrestler and had offers to compete on the mats before opting for a career in mixed martial arts. During that time, he trained with Nick and Nate Diaz, which helped push him to continue his training.

Back in 2017, Kattar made his UFC debut by scoring a victory over Andre Fili at UFC 214. He followed that up with a finish of Shane Burgos before dropping a decision to Renato Moicano.

The defeat only sparked Kattar, as he stopped both Chris Fishgold and Ricardo Lamas before another tough decision setback to Zabit Magomedsharipov. 

Since that loss, Kattar has stopped Jeremy Stephens and earned a five-round main event victory over Dan Ige. 

In that 25-minute battle with Ige this past July, Kattar proved his durability and skills are set for being a championship-fighter. He swept the scorecards that night in Abu Dhabi, which will also give him some confidence having made the long trip and come away with a win.