Prospect vs Prospect!
There is little to me as interesting as watching two hot prospects duking it out in the UFC. Immediately the first fight that springs to mind is Thomas Almeida vs Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt was the up and comer of Uriah Faber's "Munchkin Crew" but he was firmly behind TJ Dillishaw who had just lost the UFC BW championship to Dominick Cruz after a nasty public divorce from Team Alpha Male no one was talking about the former star wrestler turned hands of stone boxer. As a result he closed as a +174 underdog against the similarly undefeated Brazillian. It took just 2:53 for Cody No Love to put a crooked number in Almeidas loss column.
We find ourselves in a similar position this weekend. Don't get me wrong Zabit is a monster. He's been able to expertly use his insane reach and brutal chain striking to batter opponents on the feet. Look no further than his 3 round war with Kyle Bochniak for a master class in maintaining your composure as a martial artist while your opponent wants to brawl. The most interesting about Zabit is he doesn't put people away with his striking. Rather he uses his striking prowess to take the wind out of his opponents sails before working them to the ground and taking their neck, an arm or most recently a leg. Zabit is a supremely well rounded martial artist and there's a reason-people have been talking about him being the heir to Holloway's throne since he debuted in the UFC in 2016.
Calvin Kattar has a totally different version of the word prospect. He came up earlier this decade as the #1 prospect in New England MMA, but he wasn't getting the call from the big show. So he decided to hang up his gloves for 3 years, bought a small promotion and turned it into the biggest proving ground for talent from Maine to Connecticut. He made his money and was no longer fighting to keep a roof over his head or food in his belly, instead he had the fire to compete again for himself, taking a few bouts in 2015 and 16. Before he knew it he was getting a call from the UFC to fill in on ultra short notice on a European card. There was no hesitation from him and event though the bout got scrapped it moved him to the top of the UFC's list. Fast forward, UFC 214, Jones vs DC 2. Andre Filli had a last minute drop out and was matched up with Kattar, Calvin went out there and made his UFC debut at 29 years old, winning easily 30-27 across all 3 judges scorecards. He's since KO'd 3 of his next 4 opponents with his lone loss coming against the master of circling and point fighting with a jab, Renato Moincano. At no point has Kattar looked anything short of a world beater against any opponent who will engage with him. It was Calvin who was fighting for the 5 round main event in Moscow, Zabit's back yard, after getting moved to the main event on just a few weeks notice.
After that Almeida fight, Cody won his next two and took down the UFC BW title, Thomas is currently unranked having lost 3 of his last 4. One of these two men in today's main event will do what only 3 people have been able to manage in history, hold the UFC Featherweight title, who knows what's in store for the other man. Like I said, I fucking love prospect fights.
BYM COIN BETS
Bisping: (1,297 BYM Coin) Alexander Volkov (-294) 150 TW 51.02
Luis: (600 BYM Coin) No Bets
Harrington: (754 BYM Coin) Calvin Kattar: (+265) 354 TW 938.1