Round 1 – It sounds loud in Moody Center! This is a big one at featherweight. We’re underway. Kattar is a moderate favorite here. Let’s see if the oddsmakers are correct. Both guys are very patient. There haven’t been many strikes thrown yet. Kattar gauging range right now. We’re a minute into the fight and there have been virtually no strikes. The crowd boos. Kattar circling away from Emmett’s power hand. He trips down against the fence. He pops back up and throws a two-punch combination. Kattar jabs and throws a leg kick. Lots of bouncing around. Emmett throws a couple of punches, then a leg kick. Emmett lands a right hand. Kattar jabs. Emmett is bleeding from above his left eye. They open up and exchange. Emmett connects with a left hand, then shoots. Emmett lands on the break. Horn sounds. 10-9 Emmett.
Round 2 – Let’s see if things pick up here. Emmett lands a combination, then follows it up with a right hand. Emmett tries the same strike again. That’s usually his kill shot, so I expect there’s more where that came from. Kattar needs to throw… something. He’s just standing there, fighting too safe. Kattar jabbing. Emmett bleeding more now. This jab has essentially halted Emmett. He’s stopped pushing forward. Kattar lands a standing elbow. Emmett goes body-head with punches. Emmett flies in with a combination. Kattar ducks out of a massive right hand. Emmett briefly looks to switch stances. Then, he switches back. Emmett ducks under a Kattar combination and lands a punch. Kattar wipes his nose. Emmett threatens a takedown and lands a combination. Emmett ducks down for a takedown again and Kattar feeds him a knee. That was nicely-timed. Kattar lands another. Emmett lands one more hard combination before the horn. 20-18 Emmett.
Round 3 – Kattar is doing good things. He just needs to do more of it. Right now, he’s probably down two-zip. Emmett comes out with a combination. Emmett walks down Kattar and lands a big overhand right. Emmett lands another combination. Kattar lands an elbow. Emmett almost flips himself over with a right hand that missed. He has freaky power in his right fist. Emmett kicks the leg. Emmett lands an overhand right. Kattar goes back to his jab and lands a nice uppercut. Another right hand from Emmett lands. Emmett has attempted this standing back elbow a couple of times. Anderson Silva-esque. A randomly flashy weapon in an otherwise meat and potatoes attack thus far. Kattar is bloody now. The round ends. 30-27 Emmett.
Round 4 – There was an interesting conversation going on in the corner of Kattar. Coach Tyson Chartier asked Kattar what this issue is. Kattar said, “He’s loading up.” Seems like Kattar is worried about the power of Emmett. Let’s see if Kattar listens to his coach’s advice to be aggressive – and let’s see if it pays off. Emmett lands a combination. Emmett rushes Kattar, lands a combination, shoves him into the fence, and shoots. Kattar avoids. They break. Kattar lands an elbow. I feel like the confidence levels of the two men are moving in opposite directions. Kattar is becoming more and more timid. Emmett is getting more and more comfortable. Both men land. Emmett targets the body again. Both guys are sporting welts under an eye. Kattar cracks Emmett with a spinning back elbow. That was loud. They are separate. Kattar drills Emmett with an elbow, who staggers away. That was the most rocking strike of the fight fore either men. Emmett’s face is a mess now. That elbow did its damage. Emmett shoots and gives it up. Kattar jabs – right into the damage. Ouch. Emmett blitzes. Kattar avoids. The horn sounds and the two fighters covered in blood go face-to-face. This is getting good. 39-37 Emmett.
Round 5 – “Let’s f*cking do this,” Chartier tells Kattar. Meanwhile, Emmett’s corner tells their fighter it’s 3-1. The doctor gives Emmett’s eye clearance and we’re good to go. The final round begins. The momentum was slowly mounting for Kattar before the break. Let’s see if he picks up where he left off. Kattar jabs. He lands a right hand. Emmett lands a combination. A nice uppercut counter lands by Kattar. He then comes over the top with a right hand. Emmett dips down for a takedown. Kattar stuffs it. Emmett lands a leg kick. A check hook lands for Kattar, who moves out of Emmett’s range. Both fighters land. Emmett presses forward and Kattar blocks his head kick. Kattar doubles up on his jab. His volume is declining again. Kattar lands a nice right hand. Emmett lands a left hand. Kattar is talking to Emmett. He seems to want to trade, but is moving backward. A good right hand lands for Kattar. Emmett misses wildly as Kattar avoids. Both guys try spinning backfists. They both miss, which cracks up the two fighters as the final horn sounds. MMA Junkie scores it 48-47 Emmett.
Results: Josh Emmett def. Calvin Kattar via split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47)
Records: Calvin Kattar (23-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC), Josh Emmett (18-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC)
Referee: Herb Dean
Judging: Sal D’Amato (48-47 Emmett, scoring Round 4 and 5 for Kattar); Chris Lee (48-47, scoring Round 2 and 5 for Kattar); Doug Crosby (48-47 Kattar, scoring Round 1 and 3 for Emmett)