- Date & Location: Saturday, June 18 @ Moody Center in Austin, TX
- Time: Prelims (4 p.m. ET), Main Card (7 p.m. ET)
- How to Watch: Prelims (ESPN2, ESPN+). Main Card (ESPN, ESPN+)
Two top-10 UFC featherweights look to take a step closer to a long-awaited 145-pound title shot on Saturday, June 18, when Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett meet in the main event of UFC Austin. The fight card takes place at Moody Center in the Texas state capital of Austin.
Kattar is the No. 4 ranked fighter in the official UFC featherweight rankings. The 34-year-old is 3-1 in his past four outings. He took a year off after his one-sided loss to former UFC champion Max Holloway in January 2021. When he returned to action this January, Kattar scored a unanimous decision win over Giga Chikadze.
The 37-year-old Emmett is ranked at No. 7 at 145 pounds in the UFC. Like Kattar, Emmett took a year off after a loss. Jeremy Stephens knocked out Emmett in 2018. When Emmett returned in 2019, he scored a knockout win over Michael Johnson. Since then, Emmett has picked up three more wins. His most recent fight was a December decision victory over Dan Ige.
UFC Austin: Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett picks
Kattar vs. Emmett breakdown and analysis
Calvin Kattar‘s bout against Max Holloway might have won the “Fight of the Night” bonus, but the bout was all one way traffic. Holloway put a frightening amount of damage on Kattar in that 25-minute contest. Holloway handed Kattar the kind of loss that could have ruined Kattar as a fighter. With that, there were questions about how Kattar would perform against Giga Chikadze. Kattar answered those questions by being his normal aggressive self in winning a striking battle against the rising Chikadze.
With that, the expectation is that Kattar will employ a high-volume approach to his striking, he averages 5.19 strikes landed per minute against Emmett, who lands at a rate of 4.28 significant strikes per minute. The thing that could help Emmett in this fight is that Kattar absorbs a very high 7.64 significant strikes per minute, so if Emmett can land, he might be able to rack up points on damage.
While Emmett has the power advantage, no one has knocked out Kattar in his career. With that, I believe Emmett needs to pace himself and not throw everything will full power. If he is too aggressive, he could end up tiring and that will allow Kattar, who is the better boxer, to take over the fight with volume.
Pick: Calvin Kattar to beat Josh Emmett.
Betting value with Kattar
With Kattar being more than a -200 favorite, there is not a great amount of value in betting him to win, but there is some value there. I think the best value in this contest comes down to the method of victory and when the fight will come to a close.
I think Emmett is going to try to wrap this one up early via his power. That will sap his cardio and make him susceptible to damage as the bout goes into the later rounds. With that, I see Kattar taking this fight via a late stoppage. I think Katter earns the TKO after the halfway point of the fight.
With that out of the way, if you think the damage Kattar has taken over the course of his career is going to catch up with him, this fight might be one where it would be okay to pick Kattar to lose by knockout. I don’t think that time has come as of yet, but I can see someone who favors Emmett making a good argument for that outcome.
Prediction: Calvin Kattar to defeat Josh Emmett via TKO.
What’s at stake
The featherweight division is in an interesting spot. Champion Alexander Volkanovski is facing Max Holloway a third time in July. No. 2 ranked Brian Ortega is booked opposite No. 3 ranked Yair Rodriguez in July as well. With that, I would say it’s likely the winner of the Ortega vs. Rodriguez fight will be next in line for a title shot, but if the victor in the Kattar vs. Emmett fight, which I think will be Kattar, puts on an impressive fight, he could get a shot at UFC gold.
See below a list of reliable sportsbooks and choose the best one for you.