UFC Austin: Kattar vs Emmett Preview and Predictions
UFC is heading back on the road for UFC Austin: Kattar vs Emmett. This card feels like one that was constructed to sell out an arena. It is headlined by a tremendous main event between Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett. The remainder of the six-fight main card is filled with fan favorites that are bound to result in great fights. Today, I will be riding solo as I preview and predict every fight on the main card of UFC Austin. I will be following the same format as our previous preview posts.
Julian Marquez vs Gregory Rodrigues (Middleweight)
UFC Austin will open with a middleweight bout between Julian Marquez and Gregory Rodrigues. Despite only having four UFC fights under his belt, Marquez has made quite the name for himself. He is 3-1 in the promotion with all three wins coming by submission. Marquez is a great example of a fighter that causes chaos and proceeds to use that to his advantage. Rodrigues is no stranger to chaos, though. His last two fights against Armen Petrosyan and Jun Yong Park were both wars.
This is a very interesting matchup, and there is a good chance we see these two go to war. In that type of fight, I lean toward Marquez. His ability to find submissions in close fights is intriguing. Even in fights he is losing, he finds a way to walk away victorious. That is a skill I like to see, and it simply cannot be taught. I will take Marquez by submission in round two.
Damir Ismagulov vs Guram Kutateladze (Lightweight)
Damir Ismagulov versus Guram Kutateladze is the type of fight that will remind people just how deep the lightweight division is. Both of these fighters are incredibly talented but neither has a number next to their name. Ismagulov has wins over talented lightweights like Thiago Moises and Joel Alvarez while Kutateladze has a win over No. 12 Mateusz Gamrot. The problem with Ismagulov and Kutateladze is that they have been too inactive. Since the start of 2020, Ismagulov and Kutateladze have each only fought once.
I think this fight will be very close. Both of these guys are very well-rounded. They each are above-average strikers that can grapple as well. Usually, these scenarios will result in three rounds of striking. I do not think either guy will have a big enough grappling advantage to find consistent success in that area. At the same time, the striking exchanges will be pretty even. I think this fight will be very close, but the difference will be Ismagulov’s speed. He should be able to land shots more consistently than Kutateladze. Even though they have both been inactive, Ismagulov has fought more recently as well. For those two reasons, I will take Ismagulov by decision.
Joaquin Buckley vs Albert Duraev (Middleweight)
Joaquin Buckley and Albert Duraev will be the first fight on UFC Austin that includes a widely known fan favorite. Buckley cemented himself as a must-watch fighter after his ridiculous knockout of Impa Kasanganay. However, at times Buckley can be a letdown. He looked great against Kasanganay and Jordan Wright but looked pedestrian against Alessio Di Chirico and Abdul Razak Alhassan. His opponent, Duraev, has displayed strong grappling that is backed up by decent boxing.
The outlook for this fight is pretty simple, if Buckley lands big shots early he wins, otherwise, he will be in trouble. Duraev has great offensive grappling. He can get takedowns and control top position. When he is in a strong position on top he will throw ground-and-pound or hunt submissions. I have a hard time believing Buckley can counter Duraev’s grappling. He is just simply not good enough in that discipline. I will take Duraev by submission in round one.
Tim Means vs Kevin Holland (Welterweight)
I was not kidding when I said UFC Austin was filled with fan favorites. Kevin Holland may be the poster boy for being a fan favorite and who dislikes Tim Means? In this bout, Holland will be making his second appearance at welterweight. He seemed to get back on track in his last welterweight bout as he knocked out Alex Olivera at UFC 272. He will look to ride that momentum into this one. However, Means will not make this fight easy. Means is your stereotypical UFC veteran that can make most fights competitive by using his experience and outworking his opponent.
This fight really can go either way. Holland’s path to success is staying on the outside while utilizing his range to land straight shots. Means will have to work to get inside while grinding on Holland by using body shots and clinch work. The difference in this one will be Holland’s six-inch reach advantage. Not only does Holland have a long reach, but he excels at controlling distance and utilizing that reach to his advantage. I will take Holland by knockout in round two.
Donald Cerrone vs Joe Lauzon (Lightweight)
The co-main event of UFC Austin will feature two aging veterans in Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Joe Lauzon. Cerrone has been fighting under the Zuffa banner since 2007 (starting in the WEC before transitioning to the UFC in 2011) and has amassed an MMA record of 36-16. Nonetheless, it is no secret things have been going south for Cowboy. Cowboy is winless over his last six fights, and he has seemed to be a shell of his former self. Lauzon joined the UFC in 2007 and has a record of 28-15. Despite not fighting since 2019, Lauzon has been active in the sport as he runs his gym, Lauzon Mixed Martial Arts.
An important note about this fight is that it was originally scheduled for UFC 274 back in May, but Cerrone was forced to withdraw with an illness. This fight will be Cerrone’s first fight at 155 pounds since 2019 — his weight cut concerns me. Not only does he have to make 155 but has been forced to do it twice in about a month and a half. In addition, it is unknown if Cerrone’s illness at UFC 274 was related to the weight cut. If that was not enough, Cerrone looked pretty bad on the scale this morning. Combine a poor cut with a string of knockout losses and things do not look good for Cowboy. I’d hate to see either guy get knocked out at this stage in their career, but it seems unavoidable. I will take Lauzon by knockout in round one.
#4 Calvin Kattar vs #7 Josh Emmett (Featherweight)
The main event of UFC Austin should be fun. No. 4 Calvin Kattar and No. 7 Josh Emmett seem destined to get into a brawl. Kattar bounced back after his loss to Max Holloway and dominated the up-and-coming Giga Chikadze. On the other hand, Emmett has returned from multiple knee injuries to defeat Dan Ige and Shane Burgos. There is a lot at stake in this one. The winner of this fight will be a win or two from a title shot depending on how the top of the division plays out.
Kattar and Emmett both excel at landing in the pocket. The pair will likely stand in boxing range and throw down. Naturally, Emmett will have the power advantage as he is one of the most powerful strikers on the UFC roster, but Kattar can put his opponent’s lights out as well. In terms of paths to victory, Emmett is relatively inactive. His best chance at winning is landing a knockout punch. If he wants to win rounds, he will need to have big moments that result in a lot of damage. Kattar will be the more active fighter and can use his jab to stay outside. If Kattar can avoid getting knocked out, the fight will swing heavily in his favor as he will likely be able to win more rounds. I think Kattar’s defense is good enough and he will avoid a lot of Emmett’s shots. Plus, Kattar is one of the most durable fighters in the UFC which will come in handy if Emmett connects. I will take Kattar by decision.