Esther Lin, MMA Fighting
Six UFC wins is enough for Zabit Magomedsharipov to believe he should be in line for the next shot at the featherweight title.
On Saturday in his native Russia, Magomedsharipov earned a unanimous decision against Calvin Kattar after showcasing a diverse and creative striking offense over three rounds.
While it may not have been his most dynamic performance, Magomedsharipov still showed plenty of explosiveness and patients as he faced one of the most dangerous knockout artists currently competing at 145 pounds in the UFC.
“I knew he was a tough guy,” he said via translator about Kattar during the ESPN post fight show. “We didn’t expect him to block so much, so I had to kick him in the legs. This is what was different from our expectations.”
Magomedsharipov was the first to criticize his lackluster final round after he took the foot off the gas pedal, while Kattar was gunning for the finish in hopes that he could stage the comeback victory.
While he ultimately survived the onslaught, Magomedsharipov knew that it wasn’t his best effort, and he explained his lack of conditioning afterwards.
“I got a little tired in the third round because I had an infection when I was in Thailand. I have to take antibiotics, so I think that influenced my performance,” Magomedsharipov said.
The win puts Magomedsharipov at 18-1 in his career with 14 straight victories, including the six he’s earned inside the Octagon. He’s also knocked off a pair of top 15 level opponents in back-to-back fights with Kattar and Jeremy Stephens.
With momentum on his side, Magomedsharipov made the most of his win by immediately calling for the next shot at the 145-pound title.
Reigning champion Max Holloway is preparing to face Alexander Volkanovski with the featherweight belt up for grabs at UFC 245 in December, and Magomedsharipov would like nothing more than to challenge the winner once the dust settles.
“I think it is going to be a very exciting fight; I can’t wait to see it,” Magomedsharipov said about Holloway vs. Volkanovski. “I will also be happy to face the winner of this upcoming fight.
“I think I fully deserve the title fight and after enough preparation, I should be more than ready to have a go at the title.”
Given the current atmosphere in the featherweight division, Magomedsharipov could easily get his wish.
With former featherweight king Jose Aldo and multi-time title contender Frankie Edgar both moving down to bantamweight, as well as Brian Ortega just getting ready to compete again for the first time since he came up short in his own bid to win the belt a year ago, Magomedsharipov might be the best possible choice to challenge the eventual champion who walks out of the UFC 245 co-main event with the gold.
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