UFC Moscow: Zabit Magomedsharipov fades in third, but hangs on to win decision over Calvin Kattar

Elias Cepeda
Yahoo Sports Contributor
Zabit Magomedsharipov (L) celebrates after his win vs. Calvin Kattar (R) during UFC Moscow at CSKA Arena. (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)

Zabit Magomedsharipov got eaten up in the third and final round of his UFC main event in Moscow on Saturday by Calvin Kattar but still managed to win a unanimous decision from on the strength of the first two rounds. After three thrilling rounds between the two featherweight title contenders scores were 29-28, all-around in favor of the “hometown” fighter Magomedsharipov.

The first two rounds were difficult to score, as even Kattar’s corner told him on the stool before the third. In the first, Magomedsharipov walked Kattar down a lot while the American occasionally gave the Dagestani pause with return punches.

With just a minute left in the period Zabit landed hard jabs and crosses to the head before shifting into a stance change and scoring with a left elbow to the body. Kattar replied with a punch combination to the head.

Magomedsharipov started the second round, strong, using his lead jab, hooks and left and right kicks before connecting with a spinning back kick to the body. He then attempted a takedown off of a level change and shot that Kattar stuffed, before successfully hitting a trip that momentarily put Kattar on the mat before he bounced back to his feet and escaped back control.

Zabit Magomedsharipov kicks Calvin Kattar in their featherweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at CSKA Arena on Nov. 9, 2019 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Kattar soon threw big uppercuts that Magomedsharipov blocked but which were thrown with sufficient power to still jolt his head backward a tad. Magomedsharipov then connected with good hooks to the head and attempted a hand-stand left high kick that was blocked. Kattar responded by landing a left kick to the body to close the round.

Before sending Kattar out for the final round, the corner called for him to throw his own left hook off of his right cross and to attempt to break the will of Magomedsharipov. Kattar may not have broken Magomedsharipov’s will in the third, but he was able to mount the fight’s best offense throughout it.

After exchanged jabs and a hard kick to the groin from Magomedsharipov, Kattar refused to take minutes to recover and was promptly rewarded with a left shovel-hook to the body from his opponent. Kattar responded with hard inside leg kicks and proceeded to stalk Magomedsharipov for the rest of the round, scoring with hard punches from many angles.

After being hit with a hard right hand, Magomedsharipov landed a stiff jab of his own and was rebuffed on another takedown attempt before being hit by a right hook to the head. Magomedsharipov then landed more sharp jabs to the head before absorbing two left hooks to the head and an overhand right with just over two minutes left in the fight.

From there, Kattar began to pile it on Magomedsharipov, connecting with a left hook to the body and two overhand rights to the head. Kattar followed up with several uppercuts to the head, a lead jab to the head and a left shovel-hook of his own to the body.

Kattar then attempted a flying knee that missed and gave Magomedsharipov the takedown. From there, Magomedsharipov looked to hang on and ride out the clock, clasping his hands around Kattar’s waist and keeping his own head down.

(R-L) Calvin Kattar punches Zabit Magomedsharipov during UFC Moscow on Nov. 9, 2019 in Russia. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

From his back, an aggressive Kattar landed over a dozen punches and elbows and appeared to take no damage, while ending the fight working for an omoplata shoulder lock.

In the end, it wasn’t enough for Kattar in the eyes of the judges and he lost a unanimous decision. Afterward, Magomedsharipov credited Kattar with surprising him.

“Kattar is extremely tough,” he said.

“I wasn’t expecting him to pressure me that hard in the third round.”

Magomedsharipov then asked for a title shot, next, after his sixth-straight UFC win, and promised to not fade in later rounds should he be granted one. “I promise that if I get that fight I’ll be ready for five rounds,” he assured.

“I wasn’t able to prepare fully for this fight because of a staph infection.”

The win improves Magomedsharipov’s record to 18-1. Kattar’s loss drops his mark to 20-4.

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