Josh Emmett picked up his first-ever UFC main event victory on Saturday night, prevailing over Calvin Kattar in an airtight five-round split decision result.
Emmett’s win took place in the headlining spot of a “Fight Night” card from the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, USA.
Emmett and Kattar engaged in a close boxing battle through all five rounds of their bout. Emmett would explode forward with combinations of shots, but Kattar would often answer back with strikes of his own that would connect as well.
On paper, many rounds were incredibly close for strikes landed. In total, official UFC stats found that Kattar landed more strikes than Emmett. However, the visual of damage, a fighter advancing on the feet, and the actual impact of the shots thrown told a story that convinced two of the three judges to give the fight to Emmett.
No scorecard was a landslide win for either fighter. All three judges saw a fighter take the bout by a three-rounds-to-two margin.
Emmett is now on a five-fight winning streak at featherweight, a run that has been building since 2019. He beat another notable name in the division in his previous appearance, defeating Dan Ige in December 2021.
Emmett felt convinced afterward that he is in the title picture at featherweight.
“There’s a huge title fight in two weeks,” said Emmett, referring to the upcoming bout between champion Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway. “I want to be sitting cageside to see who I’m fighting next.”
Saturday marked the first time that Emmett had gone longer than three rounds in a UFC bout. He was booked for a five-round fight against Jeremy Stephens in 2018, although it didn’t go farther than the second frame.
Kattar entered this weekend with the momentum of an upset victory from earlier this year. He stopped the rising momentum of Giga Chikadze in January, going five rounds to hand the prospect his sole UFC loss thus far.
Holland Submits Means For Second Welterweight Win
Kevin Holland continued his welterweight campaign on Saturday night, submitting veteran Tim Means early with a darce choke.
The submission victory from Holland came shortly after a moment in the striking department.
Holland first rocked Means with a right cross while on the feet. Means shot for a takedown while stunned, although Holland was able to stuff this attempt and go to the ground.
On the ground, Holland slipped in a darce choke that caused a tap just moments later.
Holland has now scored two victories since moving down from middleweight. His divisional debut came in March when he scored a second-round finish over Alex Oliveira.
After his win, Holland asked for a fight against undefeated welterweight prospect Sean Brady.
Means entered this weekend on a strong three-fight winning streak.
Buckley Gets Doctor Stoppage Win To End Dominant Performance
Joaquin Buckley added another win to his record this weekend, pouring on strikes against Albert Duraev before attaining a doctor stoppage victory.
The doctor stoppage was called before the third round started, as damage around the left eye of Duraev became too severe.
Duraev suffered a large amount of swelling around his left eye due to strikes. The swelling was large by the end of the second round, nearly entirely obscuring his eye.
Before the finish, Buckley had many of the big moments in a stand-up battle against Duraev. He scored knockdowns briefly in the bout and touched Duraev up with shots during other moments as well.
Buckley is now on a three-fight winning streak and has an overall UFC record of five wins and two losses.
Duraev was coming off a successful UFC debut, where he beat Roman Kopylov via decision. Duraev secured a contract with the promotion last year on “Dana White’s Contender Series.”
Ismagulov Keeps Streak Alive
Damir Ismagulov’s undefeated UFC run continued on Saturday night, as he went three rounds against Guram Kutateladze to take a split decision win.
Ismagulov prevailed after a fight back-and-forth fight that mostly took place on the feet. The split decision likely came due to the close nature of the fight that saw both fighters have momentum swings during exchanges.
Ismagulov’s previous win was a decision victory over Rafael Alves.
Kutateladze was making his second appearance in the UFC cage. He made a statement in his 2020 promotional debut, defeating former KSW Lightweight Champion Mateusz Gamrot on scorecards.
Rodrigues Stops Returning Marquez
Gregory Rodrigues poured on strikes against Julian Marquez to pick up a first-round finish win as part of Saturday’s main card.
Rodrigues floored Marquez with a right hook in the fourth minute of their middleweight bout, putting an end to his one-sided outing on the feet.
Rodrigues inflicted a large amount of damage before the finish, scoring three knockdowns against Marquez due to punches. Marquez remained on his feet for quite a while after the third knockdown, but the damage done to him along with the little defense he showed caused him to continue to consume shots on the feet until the fight was stopped.
Rodrigues, a former LFA Middleweight Champion, put himself back into the win column with his performance this weekend. He took a decision loss earlier in 2022, suffering a split result against Armen Petrosyan.
Marquez was appearing for the first time in over a year. He previously had a strong 2021, securing two submission wins within a three-month time period.
Yanez Finishes Kelley In Front of Home State
Adrian Yanez kept his undefeated UFC run alive in the first bout of the main card, finishing Tony Kelley in the first round with punches for his fourth promotional victory.
Yanez landed a trio of right hooks to the head of Kelley to stun him on the feet. He continued to pour on shots as Kelley went to the ground, scoring with punches until the fight was stopped.
Yanez, who was fighting in front of his home state for the first time since joining the UFC, now has five wins since 2020. Four of those victories have come via finish.
Kelley entered this weekend on a two-fight winning streak. He missed weight for the bout Friday, coming in one-and-a-half pounds over the non-championship featherweight limit.
The Rest of the Card
Natalia Silva won her UFC debut in the final prelim on Saturday night, earning a unanimous decision victory over Jasmine Jasudavicius.
Former CFFC champ Jeremiah Wells kept his flawless UFC run intact this weekend, scoring his third finish consecutive finish win in the promotion. This victory came in 94 seconds, as he stopped veteran Court McGee with a left hook.
Ricardo Ramos had one of the most flashy wins of the night, catching Danny Chavez early with a spinning elbow for a first-round knockout.
Maria Oliveira earned her first UFC victory on Saturday night, taking a close split decision win over Gloria de Paula.
Cody Stamann broke a three-fight skid on Saturday night, stringing together a quick flurry of punches to stop veteran Eddie Wineland in just 59 seconds. Wineland has now been finished within the first round in three consecutive fights.
A near one-sided striking performance from Phil Hawes came to an end late in the second round against Deron Winn, as a series of punches and elbows made referee Herb Dean step in and end the fight.
Roman Dolidze picked up his first finish UFC win on Saturday night, dropping Kyle Daukaus in the second minute with a knee to the head, then finishing the fight with ground and pound. Dolidze now has a strong UFC record of four wins and one loss.
Main Card (7:00PM EDT / 6:00PM CDT) (ESPN / TSN 2)
Bout 13: Josh Emmett def. Calvin Kattar via Decision, Split
Bout 12: Kevin Holland def. Tim Means via Submission, Darce Choke (RD 2, 1:28)
Bout 11: Joaquin Buckley def. Albert Duraev via TKO, Doctor Stoppage (RD 2, 5:00)
Bout 10: Damir Ismagulov def. Guram Kutateladze via Decision, Split
Bout 9: Gregory Rodrigues def. Julian Marquez via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:18)
Bout 8: Adrian Yanez def. Tony Kelley via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 3:49)
Preliminary Card (4:00PM EDT / 3:00PM CDT) (ESPN2 / TSN 2)
Bout 7: Natalia Silva def. Jasmine Jasudavicius via Decision, Unanimous
Bout 6: Jeremiah Wells def. Court McGee via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:34)
Bout 5: Ricardo Ramos def. Danny Chavez via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:12)
Bout 4: Maria Oliveira def. Gloria de Paula via Decision, Split
Bout 3: Cody Stamann def. Eddie Wineland via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 0:59)
Bout 2: Phil Hawes def. Deron Winn via TKO, Strikes (RD 2, 4:25)
Bout 1: Roman Dolidze def. Kyle Daukaus via TKO, Strikes (RD 1, 1:13)