Zabit Magomedsharipov is ready for his title shot.
The highly touted featherweight contender remained undefeated inside the Octagon in the main event of UFC Fight Night from Moscow on Saturday, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar.
While he had to stave off a late surge from his opponent, Magomedsharipov used a diverse arsenal of strikes to frustrate Kattar for a victory on the scorecards all reading 29-28 after three rounds.
Afterwards, Magomedsharipov wasted no time turning his attention to the UFC 245 co-main event, where reigning featherweight champion Max Holloway takes on former rugby player turned fighter Alexander Volkanosvki.
“I’m 6-0 in the UFC, and obviously I’d like to face the winner of Holloway versus Volkanovski,” Magomedsharipov said after having his hand raised for the sixth straight time in the UFC. “I promise if I get that fight, I will be ready for five rounds.
“I wasn’t able to prepare fully for this fight because I had staph infections and stuff, but I promise I’ll be better next time.”
It took no time for Magomedsharipov to come out very active offensive game plan while stalking Kattar across the Octagon with a variety of striking combinations.
Again and again, the Dagestani featherweight was throwing a stiff lead jab and then following behind it with a series of punches in succession or finishing with a kick that kept Kattar guessing.
While he wasn’t connecting as regularly, Kattar was more than willing to bite down on his mouthpiece and fire back at Magomedsharipov with some powerful punches of his own.
The offensive onslaught continued for Magomedsharipov into the second round with his output seemingly frustrating Kattar, who just couldn’t find a home for his best punches.
Kattar was still headhunting whenever he saw an opening, but Magomedsharipov’s defense, which included some quick footwork that kept him from absorbing any real damage.
While the Massachusetts’ native was more active in the third and final round, Magomedsharipov was maintaining his control with the lead jab to keep Kattar on the end of his punches.
With just over two minutes remaining in the fight, Kattar started to abandon his strategy by just going after Magomedsharipov with everything left in his arsenal. Kattar’s willingness to come after Magomedsharipov nearly paid off after he cracked the highly-touted featherweight with a stiff left hand and tried to follow it up with one more.
Kattar also managed to rattle Magomedsharipov’s midsection with a nasty punch to the body. But he just couldn’t connect with the kind of power to shift the fight into his favor. As time ticked away to the final horn, Kattar did try to go for broke with a jumping knee strike. But Magomedsharipov countered with a takedown, which put the fighters on the ground until the fight was over.
Because Magomedsharipov and Kattar were bumped to the main event slot only a few weeks ago after the original headliner was scrapped, the featherweight battle ended after three rounds with the Russian awarded the unanimous decision victory.
The win may not have made the emphatic statement he wanted to guarantee a title shot, but Magomedsharipov proved once again that he’s amongst the elite fighters currently competing at 145 pounds. With both Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo leaving the division, it’s going to be awfully had to argue against Magomedsharipov taking on the winner of Holloway vs. Volkanovski after they finish their business on Dec. 14.