BOSTON – Calvin Kattar had been building his expectations around a night like Saturday for his entire MMA career.
Still, reality exceeded them.
What his official record will show is that Kattar (18-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) finished Shane Burgos’ (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC) with a third-round knockout at UFC 220. But there was more to it than that: He got to do it in “Fight of the Night” fashion, on a pay-per-view main card, in front of the crazed home crowd of Boston’s TD Garden.
“I envisioned this since the moment I started my career, (since) day one,” Kattar said. “And it was better than I could have ever expected. It felt amazing. That Boston crowd, there’s nothing like it. You guys were on the building, you heard it. It was amazing.”
Here’s more (via Instagram):
Two years ago watching @robfont do work at the TD Garden for my brother's 30th, imagining what it'd be like fighting there in front of the hometown crowd. Fast forward two years later, I get to join him on the same card and experience it for myself. Where will you be in two years? #UFC220 #TDGarden #TeamKattar #DreamsToReality #HardworkPaysOff
A post shared by calvinkattar (@calvinkattar) on
It wasn’t easy, though. Kattar, who thinks he lost the second round, expected a tough challenge with previously undefeated Burgos – and that’s what he got. Looking back, he wasn’t able to do all the things he wanted, but it still was more than enough to come out with the win.
After upsetting Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili in a short-notice UFC debut, “The Boston Finisher” is now on a 10-fight winning streak overall. He’s become the first man to beat rapidly-rising Burgos. And he got $50,000 richer in the process.
But believe it or not, that wasn’t even the highlight of Kattar’s night.
As he prepared for his own fight, he got to watch as fellow local fighters and training partners Kyle Bochniak and Rob Font bounce back from losses in their UFC 220 bouts – with wins over Brandon Davis and Thomas Almeida, respectively.
“It felt better than my knockout,” Kattar said. “I was laughing a little bit, because I was really happy to see them go out and do work. I was the last fight, so I felt a little added pressure, like, ‘We’ve got to bring this thing home, 3-0.’ I was just happy to go out, get the job done.
“And after, I was just really happy for my teammates. I know how hard they worked. We put in a 10-week camp. We were all pushing each other, leading into this fight, and it was really good to see hard work pay off tonight for New England MMA.”
While he’s only two fights into his UFC career, there’s something to be said for the way they came about. Still, the level-headed featherweight was not inclined to use his time in front of the cameras to start issuing callouts and making demands.
“I was focusing on Shane Burgos this whole time,” Kattar said. “I didn’t look past him. I had a lot of respect for him. He’s been unbeaten, his whole career. Nobody’s been able to do what I did. I’m just happy I was able to go and get the job done. And now I’ll talk to my team and coaches and see who’s next.”view original article >>
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