UFC featherweight Calvin Kattar (22-4) had a goal for 2020: go on a three fight win streak.
Of course, as it did for many fighters (not to mention the rest of us), the red-headed stepchild of a year that was 2020 reared its ugly head and threw a wrench in the works. Kattar didn’t even get to fight three times. Although he did go 2-0 in fights against Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige.
With that in mind, Kattar told reporters including Cageside Press in a virtual media day Wednesday that “2021 doesn’t start until after the Max fight.”
That would be Kattar’s fight against Max Holloway, former UFC 145lb champ. The pair headline UFC Fight Island 7 this Saturday in Abu Dhabi. It’s the UFC’s first event of the year. And their first card on U.S. broadcast network ABC. A big event, in other words.
Against Holloway, Kattar has a few factors leaning in his favor. Many have noted his reach advantage against the former champ. “Reach helps,” Kattar admitted. “Mindset helps. Wanting it more than him helps. I’m going to take all three in there with me in the octagon, and just do what I’ve got to do to get my hand raised.”
This fight marks Kattar’s second trip out to “Fight Island,” which has helped him prepare for the travel time to, and heat in, Abu Dhabi. But he knows he’s up against a tough opponent in Holloway.
Asked about the Hawaiian’s adjustment between his last two fights, both against Alexander Volkanovski, Kattar opined that “I thought he made great adjustments. Everyone’s quick to write you off after a two-fight skid, even if it is to the current champ. I’m ready to fight the best Max Holloway that’s set foot in the octagon, and I’m ready for 25 minutes. A finish would be great, but I’m just looking to get my hand raised.”
A win over Holloway, after all, would very likely put Kattar next in line for the title. Who holds that title when Kattar potentially gets to it, however, remains to be seen. Brian Ortega appears to have the next shot against Volkanovski all locked up.
Kattar, however, isn’t ready to predict a winner. “I’m really not there mentally yet. I’m just focused on Max Holloway,” he stated Wednesday. “To give either of those guys any of my attention right now would be a discredit to Max.”
Calvin Kattar faces Max Holloway in the main event of UFC Fight Island 7 (UFC on ABC 1) this Saturday, January 16, 2021 in Abu Dhabi. The event airs live on ABC in the U.S.