Almeida, Kattar square off in rare boxing battle of highly-ranked featherweights
Almeida, Kattar square off in rare boxing battle of highly-ranked featherweights
By Media Report on Doghouse Boxing (Sept 28, 2012) Doghouse Boxing
Almeida, Kattar square off Oct. 6 in rare battle of highly-ranked featherweights. PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Sept. 28, 2012) – On paper, it could be the fight of the night, or perhaps the fight of the year, a bona fide main event on almost any other card.

The impending Oct. 6 showdown between Saul Almeida and Calvin Kattar is almost too good to be true, so much so that it might make fight fans wonder why two red-hot prospects in their mid-20s are willing to risk their records and reputations against one another in front of a worldwide Pay Per View audience.

“Fights like this don’t come around often,” Kattar said. “I couldn’t pass up this opportunity.”

This rare match-up will take place on the undercard of Jimmy Burchfield’s Classic Entertainment & Sports’ “Real Pain” mixed martial arts event Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 at The Dunkin’ Donuts Center in association with June Entertainment.

The event, which is available live on Direct TV Pay Per View, features the professional debut of former six-time World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) heavyweight champion Dave Bautista, but the Kattar-Almeida showdown could steal the show, even with four former Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veterans on the undercard.

Kattar, a Methuen, Mass., native and Almeida, who hails from nearby Framingham, enter next weekend’s featherweight showdown with identical records (12-2) and equal opportunities to climb even higher if they win the fight.

According to the website (Uniting Fighters Locally Through Mixed Martial Arts), which ranks “unsigned” fighters – primarily those not affiliated with the UFC or signed by another major promotion – on a pound-for-pound scale and by their respective weight class, Almeida and Kattar are No. 5 and No. 11, respectively, in the pound-for-pound rankings, a list that includes fighters from New York, Iceland, Brazil and Germany.

Kattar, a natural lightweight (155 pounds), is dropping to 145 to face Almeida, who has never lost in the featherweight division (both of his losses, including his most recent setback against Matt Bessette at the Bellator Fighting Championships in March, have come at 155). While the two have identical records, this is actually a stark contrast in styles; six of Kattar’s 12 wins have ended by knockout, prompting the nickname “The Boston Finisher,” whereas “The Spider” Almeida has gone the distance 10 times in his 12 wins, using his lanky, 6-foot-1 frame to impose his will on his opponents.

“He’s a little unpredictable,” Kattar said. “Long, definitely rangy – he likes to impose his will, and I generally like to do the same, so it’ll be an interesting fight.”

“He likes to trade a little more and push the pace,” Almeida countered. “It’ll be interesting to see who can impose their will. This is the fight that’s supposed to happen. Everyone wants to see it. I want to fight the best and I feel as though he and I are right up there, so it’s a big fight for both of us.”

Though the perception is Almeida would rather keep the fight on the ground, “The Spider” is quick to point out he was a black belt in karate at 10 years old and began boxing at 16. He even made his professional boxing debut in July, a fight that ended in a no-contest due to an accidental headbutt.

Kattar doesn’t care where the fight ends up; he’s preparing for every imaginable scenario.

“I don’t want to say, ‘He can’t take me to the ground!’ because then I’ll get taken down and there goes my whole game plan,” he said. “I’ll adjust as the fight goes.”

What the future holds for the winner remains to be seen, but both fighters understand the implications. Kattar has a show a willingness throughout his career to fight anyone at any given time. He’s won four consecutive fights dating back to 2010, including wins over Jeff Anderson and Cody Stevens, both of whom have also lost to Almeida. Throw in Kevin Roddy, who has also lost to both fighters, and that makes three common opponents.

Considering they’ve traveled similar paths to the top, Kattar is correct in saying next month’s showdown against Almeida has “been a long time coming.”

“He kept winning, I kept winning – the fight had been hanging around for a while, but it never made as much sense as it does right now,” Kattar said. “CES made it happen.”

“He was never someone I was gunning for,” Almeida said, “but once he dropped down to featherweight, I knew it’d be a possibility. I really see the winner moving on [to something bigger].”

The only major difference between the two as they prepare to face one another on Oct. 6 is Kattar has been red-hot of late, whereas Almeida is coming off a loss, one in which he blames his own lack of focus for the outcome.  

“My head wasn’t it,” he said. “I wasn’t listening to my team or my corner. I wasn’t following the game plan. I looked at the fight afterward and I knew I was sloppy. Not to take anything away from [Bessette], but that wasn’t me out there.

“I feel better now,” he added. “Plus, I’m fighting at 145. I feel stronger and quicker at this weight. I’ve never lost at 145, so it should be a good fight.”

Kattar hasn’t fought since October; he had a fight lined up for August that fell through the day of the weigh-in. Rust might be a factor, but he’s been in the gym consistently since the beginning of his last training camp, so he doesn’t anticipate any problems matching Almeida’s impeccable level of conditioning.

“Given the caliber of opponent, I know I won’t have a problem,” Kattar said. “I know he’ll be ready, too.”

When it’s all said done, Kattar might even have enough time afterward to enjoy the rest of the fight card, including Bautista’s highly-anticipated debut.

“The cool part is this on the undercard, so there’s a little less pressure for me,” he said. “This is the perfect storm. This is what fight is all about. I’m excited to finally have this opportunity.”

The Oct. 6 undercard features 13 fights, including four Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) veterans. Charleston, S.C., middleweight Chris McNally (5-4) will face former UFC title contender Dave Loiseau (20-10, 13 KOs); former UFC welterweight Marc Stevens (14-7, 6 KOs) of Lorraine, N.Y., will face dangerous Providence native Luis Felix (7-6, 4 KOs); Boston native John “Doomsday” Howard (17-7, 6 KOs), a veteran of seven UFC shows will take on middleweight Brett Chism (16-11, 7 KOs) of Valdosta, Ga.; and former UFC welterweight Chad Reiner (29-13, 9 KOs) of Omaha, Neb., will face Pawtucket, R.I., veteran Keith Jeffrey (8-2).

The remainder of the undercard is littered with Top 10 regional fighters. Pawtucket’s Todd “The Hulk” Chattelle (10-7, 8 KOs), the former CES MMA middleweight champion, will end his five-month layoff and face Boulder, Colo., native Chandler Holderness (9-3, 4 KOs) in a bout originally scheduled for June before Chattelle suffered an arm injury during training camp. In the 205-pound division, Providence’s Greg Rebello (13-4, 7 KOs), No. 3 in the northeast, will look to get back on track against Chris Guillen (13-12, 1 KO) of St. George, Utah. Providence’s Mike “The Beast” Campbell (11-4, 7 KOs), now ranked No. 5 among lightweights in the northeast, will face Philadelphia’s Gemiyale Adkins (7-3, 3 KOs), a former welterweight making his first appearance in the 155-pound division.

“Real Pain” also features another battle between two Top 10 fighters, this time in the heavyweight division with No. 3 Josh Diekmann (12-4, 8 KOs) of Groton, Conn., facing No. 5 Tyler King (4-1, 2 KOs), a former NFL offensive lineman from Norwood, Mass. King and Diekmann actually fought on the same card in separate bouts in Rhode Island back in February; King beat Eric Bedard while Diekmann lost to former UFC contender Josh Hendricks.

Also on the undercard, No. 6 ranked middleweight Brennan Ward (3-0, 2 KOs) of Providence will face Shedrick “Chocolate Thunder” Goodridge (2-2) of Rahway, N.J.; Providence’s Nate Andrews (1-0) will battle Leon Davis (2-0) of Springfield, Mass., in an interstate welterweight showdown; bantamweight Andre Soukhamthath (2-1, 1 KO) of Woonsocket, R.I., will face Rob Costa (2-0) of Fall River, Mass.; and Waltham, Mass., welterweight Tyson Chartier (3-2, 1 KO) will face Kevin Horowitz (4-4) of Queens.

Tickets are available at or and are priced at $20.00, $35.00, $55.00, $75.00, $125.00 and $250.00. The show will also air live on Direct TV Pay Per View for $29.95 ($39.95 in high definition) – available starting this week – beginning at 8 p.m., or through Livestream via in high definition.

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