Calvin Kattar (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett Preview and Predictions

On Saturday, Jun. 18, the UFC returns to Austin for the first time in over four years with UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett. With UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski set to square off with rival and former champion Max Holloway for the third time, the rest of the division keeps moving below them as a new challenger looks to separate himself from the pack and earn the next crack at the belt.

This weekend’s headlining affair pits two all-action contenders against each other as Calvin Kattar meets Josh Emmett. Kattar turned in a signature performance in his last bout, besting acclaimed kickboxer Giga Chikadze by unanimous decision, rebounding from a hellacious beating he took at the hands of the aforementioned Holloway. Emmett, too, comes into this fight riding a win, as he defeated perennial tough-out Dan Ige in Dec. 2021. A standout performance by either man could give him all the momentum he needs to earn a title shot against the winner of Volkanovski-Holloway III.

If the main event wasn’t enough to have fans rife with anticipation, the co-main event is a lightweight tilt between two veterans, as Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone meets Joe Lauzon. The pair were initially slated to meet at UFC 274 but a bout of food poisoning forced Cerrone out of the contest. Fresh off the release of Terror on the Prairie, where “Cowboy” stars alongside Gina Carano as homesteader Jeb McAllister, Cerrone will look to right the ship and pick up a long overdue win as he potentially rides off into the sunset. Lauzon will look to make it two straight wins as he too draws near the end of a storied career.


UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett airs live in its entirety on ESPN+ starting at 4 p.m. ET. The preliminary card will also air on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS at 4 p.m. ET, with the main card following on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET. Combat Press writers Andrew Sumian and Matt Petela preview the action in this week’s edition of Toe-to-Toe.

Josh Emmett has rattled off four straight wins since his knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens; does he have the game to make it five straight or will Calvin Kattar halt his momentum?

Sumian: This is truly a battle of heavy hitters. Both Kattar and Emmett are elite strikers who hold power and technique. However, both are also capable of being lured into wild exchanges and getting caught.

Kattar is one of the best featherweights out there and will be a force in the division for some time. His toughness was on full display against Max Holloway, and his capabilities were only confirmed throughout his five-round war with Giga Chikadze. A win over Emmett will likely put Kattar in a title-eliminator fight for his next performance.

Emmett is the perfect example of a fighter’s career that has been plagued with unfortunate injuries. Every time the Arizona native gains some momentum, he suffers a catastrophic setback and has to take time off. Emmett’s win over Dan Ige showed his ability to perform under pressure and recover when facing adversity.

This marquee featherweight matchup could end up becoming one of the best fights of 2022 when it is all said and done. Both are wildly entertaining sluggers and combine for 17 knockouts. However, the evening will belong to Kattar come Saturday night. As long as he does not get into consistent range of Emmett’s powerful hooks, Kattar should be able to utilize his height and reach advantages to batter Emmett throughout an entertaining five-round war.

Petela: The thing that will separate these two men is Josh Emmett’s ability to wrestle. He wrestled at Menlo College and also trains with one of the premier gyms for lighter weight fighters at Team Alpha Male. Throughout the years there have been two things that Team Alpha Male fighters are known for – their wrestling ability and some of the sickest guillotines in the game.

Kattar will try and turn this into a pure boxing match, and there will be stretches where he does just that. He will pick Emmett apart for minutes at a time, but all it takes is one takedown from Emmett and he will be able to neutralize Kattar almost entirely.

Expect a late stoppage by the referee to save Kattar from unnecessary punishment on the ground, because, as he has shown previously, he is willing to go out on his sword. And his New England Cartel corner is perfectly fine letting him do just that.

A rebooked lightweight bout between Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Joe Lauzon sits in the co-main event slot; which one of these two fan favorites comes away with a win?

Petela: This is a fight that nearly every fan wishes would have happened several years ago. Somehow their paths never crossed, and, frankly, at this point in their respective careers, it is not a fight I want to see. Both of these guys are well past their glory days and should probably hang up the gloves after this bout. Lauzon has lost three of his last four fights, but is coming into this fight on the heels of a TKO victory over Jonathan Pearce. Cerrone is 0-5 with one no-contest over his last six and hasn’t won a fight since 2019, when he notched a unanimous decision win over Al Iaquinta.

With all that being said, I have to lean towards Lauzon picking up the victory. Not only has Lauzon won a fight far more recently, and hasn’t looked quite as shop-worn as Cowboy, but, stylistically, I think Lauzon will have the advantage. His quasi-old-school-boxing-style defense, with his hands high in a shell, when he’s facing pressure will give Cerrone problems. There may be an opening for a Cerrone body kick, but, at this point in his career, his switch kick has slowed just a bit, and that will allow Lauzon to defend at least partially. Expect a methodical start to the fight from Lauzon, where he keeps Cerrone off balance, as he is a notoriously slow starter. After a decisive opening frame for Lauzon, Cowboy will come out guns blazing in the second, but he will lack the snap on his punches to stun Lauzon through that high-shell defense. A well-placed counter shot to the body by Lauzon will buckle the knees of Cerrone, and a few punches after that will close the show.

Sumian: Donald Cerrone will win this fight and retire. Cowboy has more than what it takes to defeat a veteran like Lauzon and cement his legacy as a UFC legend. He will be on point in his final performance and put on an effortless display of kickboxing to close the show. Cerrone will drop Lauzon and either finish the fight with ground-and-pound or a choke.

Natalia Silva — do we need to know this name?

Sumian: Silva is certainly an intriguing submission artist, and her six-fight winning streak will only increase the attention on her for the Brazilian’s first Octagon appearance. A win over the older and stronger Jasmine Jasudavivius seems unlikely, but anything is possible.

Petela: Natalia Silva is an always-dangerous submission threat, but I haven’t seen enough to think she has the well-rounded game it takes to make significant moves inside the UFC. She is only 25 years old, so there is still time for her to grow into one of the next-generation stars at flyweight, where the champion finally showed some level of vulnerability this past weekend.

What one fighter’s UFC career is on the ropes at this event?

Petela: Eddie Wineland. He has had one of the most underrated careers in the history of mixed martial arts, and I don’t think that I’m being hyperbolic in saying that. However, it is time for him to call it a career. He has fought just once a year since 2017, and has picked up only one victory over his last five bouts. That includes back-to-back knockout losses to Sean O’Malley and John Castaneda. This is a prime example of how the game just passes folks by late into their career.

Wineland’s style of wild striking with his hands low and unorthodox footwork has been figured out, and his opponents have learned how to capitalize on the openings left by that style. Unfortunately for the former UFC interim bantamweight title challenger, and inaugural WEC bantamweight champion, this will be his third straight loss, and fifth loss in his last six overall. That will force him to make a decision on whether or not he wants to continue fighting, but, if he does, it will likely be somewhere outside of the UFC.

Sumian: It is hard to imagine the loser of Eddie Wineland and Cody Stamman still being on the UFC roster the following week. Both have fallen on hard times and will be in desperation mode come Saturday.

Which fight is the sleeper match-up on this card?

Sumian: The main card is filled with high-profile fights that will captivate fans from start to finish. However, the real “juice” of this card will take place when Adrian Yanez and Tony Kelley take center stage for the main event of the preliminary card. These are two of the most exciting bantamweights and will pull off an absolute banger for as long as this fight lasts.

Petela: Phil Hawes vs. Deron Winn. This will be an interesting fight where Winn will have to get inside of the rangier Hawes and try to turn this fight into basically a wrestling match. If Winn can’t close the distance, he will get picked apart from start to finish, but, should he be able to put Hawes on his back, it could be the type of building-block fight he needs to move towards being a contender at middleweight.

Who takes home the “Performance of the Night” honors?

Petela: Kyle Daukaus. The Northeast Philadelphia product looked better than ever in his last fight against Jamie Pickett, where he picked up a D’Arce choke submission in the last second of the first round. He has a very tough opponent in Roman Dolidze, a fight that was originally slated to happen in 2021, but COVID protocols forced it to be scrapped. At this point, Dolidze has been out of action for a year, and, with respect to his previous opponents, this is a bit of a step-up in competition. Expect a submission win for Daukaus, likely another D’Arce or rear-naked choke, as he becomes the first person to stop Dolidze.

Sumian: Kevin Holland. He will get his second welterweight victory on Saturday and continue to showcase that he can be something special at 170.

Pair this card with…

Sumian: This is truly one of the best fight nights in a long time. The entire main card consists of intriguing matchups and will entertain fans from start to finish. This is a great mid-afternoon BBQ card and should be accompanied by an equally summer-themed drink. Margaritas with chips and salsa to keep the vibe going, as fight after fight delivers entertainment for all viewers who choose to tune in.

Petela: Anytime Cowboy is on a fight card, you can’t go wrong with a case of Budweiser. Win or lose, nobody personifies what it means to be a fighter more than Cowboy. There’s something special about him, not just in the way he fights, but how open he is about how scary it is to make that walk to the cage. Yet, time and time again, he conquers those fears and gives fans everything he’s got in search of a victory.

Fight Sumian’s Pick Petela’s Pick
Main Card (ESPN/ESPN+, 7 p.m. ET)
FW: Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett Kattar Enmett
LW: Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon Cerrone Lauzon
WW: Tim Means vs. Kevin Holland Holland Holland
MW: Joaquin Buckley vs. Albert Duraev Duraev Duraev
LW: Damir Ismagulov vs. Guram Kutateladze Ismagulov Ismagulov
MW: Julian Marquez vs. Gregory Rodrigues Marquez Marquez
Preliminary Card (ESPN2/ESPNEWS/ESPN+, 4 p.m. ET)
BW: Adrian Yanez vs. Tony Kelley Yanez Yanez
Women’s FlyW: Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Natalia Silva Jasudavicius Jasudavicius
WW: Court McGee vs. Jeremiah Wells McGee Wells
FW: Ricardo Ramos vs. Danny Chavez Ramos Ramos
StrawW: Maria Oliveira vs. Gloria De Paula De Paula De Paula
BW: Eddie Wineland vs. Cody Stamann Stamman Stamann
MW: Phil Hawes vs. Deron Winn Hawes Hawes
MW: Roman Dolidze vs. Kyle Daukaus Dolidze Daukaus