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
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.”
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
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
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 ULTMMA.com (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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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
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.
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.”
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.”
it’s all said done, Kattar might even have enough time afterward to
enjoy the rest of the fight card, including Bautista’s
“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).
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
“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.
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)
Tickets are available at www.cesmma.com or
www.ticketmaster.com 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
www.bautistamma.com in high definition.
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