Josh Emmett’s case for a UFC featherweight title shot got a lot stronger on Saturday, as he picked up a split decision over Calvin Kattar.
Emmett (18-2) attacked Kattar (23-6) with winging right hands and body shots, over the course of a back-and-forth five-round fight. All three judges’ scorecards were closed. Two officials awarded the 145-pound fight 48-47 to Emmett, who went in as the betting underdog. A third saw it in Kattar’s favor, 48-47. The fight headlined UFC Fight Night in Austin, Texas.
Although the fight was undoubtedly closed — producing a wide range of fan scores on social media — Emmett said he was confident about the result. Current champion Alexander Volkanovski is scheduled to defend his belt against Max Holloway at UFC 276 on July 2 in Las Vegas, and Emmett demanded a chance to face the winner.
Saturday’s contest basically played out like a boxing match, as neither featherweight looked to utilize leg kicks or takedowns. Kattar’s best weapon was his jab, which he consistently landed throughout the entire fight. He opened a cut over Emmett’s left eye with the jab early, and opened it further with an elbow in the fourth round.
Emmett, of Sacramento, did his best work at short range. He effectively went to Kattar’s body during the middle rounds, and forced him backwards at times with the overhand right. Even when Kattar blocked the shots, they had visible weight behind them. In the fifth, Emmett picked and chose his spots and blitzed Kattar with combinations, while Kattar tried to keep things at a distance to land his jab.
Emmett has now won five in a row. Only Volkanovski (9), Arnold Allen (9) and Bryce Mitchell (6) have longer active win streaks in the division.
Watch Kattar vs. Emmett on ESPN+ | Devastating injuries haven’t taken the fight out of Josh Emmett
UFC Fight Night results
Welterweight: Kevin Holland (23-7 1 NC, 11-4 1 NC UFC) def. Tim Means (31-13-1 1 NC, 14-10 1 NC UFC) by submission (Watch on ESPN+)
Kevin Holland has clearly been working in the gym, and it showed on Saturday. The 29-year-old looked outstanding in a second-round submission of the veteran Tim Means. The finish came at 1:28 of the round, via D’Arce choke.
The finish capped off a sublime performance from start to finish. Holland hurt Means with short punches on the inside, landing uppercuts and right hands in spaces Means traditionally finds his own success. Holland also did well defending Means’ takedown attempts. He did go to the ground at one point in the opening round, but worked his way back up immediately.
A straight right hand wobbled Means about 90 seconds into the second round, and as he attempted to clinch up, Holland jumped on the neck and produced a quick tap. It’s his second win in two appearances since dropping from middleweight to the welterweight division.
“I’m not trying to be cocky, I think I can submit anyone in the world,” Holland said. “I guess Sean Brady really needs an opponent. I’m down for that. I hear he wants to fight in August. I was thinking September. Sean, if we can figure something out, that would be my third fight this year, and I’d still have time for two more.”
Brady (15-0) is currently the No. 9 ranked welterweight. In a recent interview with ESPN, he campaigned for a fight against Belal Muhammad, but specifically mentioned Holland as a possible alternative. Holland is now 2-0 in the welterweight division after going winless in three matches at middleweight. Since the start of 2019, Holland’s nine wins are the most in the promotion, breaking a tie with former UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira,
Middleweight: Joaquin Buckley (15-4, 5-2 UFC) def. Albert Duraev (15-4, 2-1 UFC) by technical knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
A bout between two former teammates produced a lopsided result, as Buckley thoroughly dominated Duraev on the feet — hurting him multiple times en route to a doctor’s stoppage after the second round.
Duraev, of Russia, went into the bout with a lot of confidence in his ability to out-wrestle Buckley, but that is not what played out in the cage. Buckley did a tremendous job keeping the fight standing, where he staggered Duraev with a left kick to the head and closed his right eye with straight left hands. Duraev finished the second round hunched over on his knees demoralized. A cageside physician stopped it moments later.
“More than anything in that fight I wanted to show my wrestling defense,” Buckley said. “He took me down a couple times but he was supposed to hold me down. I got my ass back up and we got fighting again.”
It’s a nice result for Buckley, who was a clear betting underdog in the bout. He has now won five of his last six. Duraev suffers his first loss since 2014.
Lightweight: Damir Ismagulov (24-1, 5-0 UFC) def. Guram Kutateladze (12-3, 1-1 UFC) by split decision (Watch on ESPN+)
The winning streak continues for Ismagulov, as the lightweight has now won all five of his matches in the UFC and 19 straight overall across various MMA promotions. Ismagulov joins an impressive list of lightweights who started 5-0 in the UFC: Khabib Nurmagomedov, Nate Diaz, Benson Henderson and Gregor Gillespie. Ismagulov’s five-fight active winning streak at lightweight is tied with Rafael Fiziev, Claudio Puelles and Arman Tsarukyan for the longest in the division.
Ismagulov’s win was a close one, as Kutateladze met every physical challenge presented within the Octagon. Both landed nearly the same amount of significant strikes, 79-78, in Ismagulov’s favor, as Ismagulov found success by targeting the head with 63 landed strikes to the area while Kutateladze landed 48 significant strikes to the body and legs.
Kutateladze sees his nine-fight win streak snapped with the loss. This was Kutateladze’s first UFC match in 20 months, when he won his first UFC bout against Mateusz Gamrot by split decision.
Middleweight: Gregory Rodrigues (12-4, 3-2 UFC) def. Julian Marquez (9-3, 4-2 UFC) by knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Gregory Rodrigues knocks out Julian Marquez as the announcers can’t believe what they’re seeing in Austin.
The first-round knockouts kept rolling in at UFC Austin, as Rodrigues defeated Marquez with multiple punches to the head that his opponent couldn’t recover from. In his fifth UFC fight, Rodrigues scored three knockdowns on Saturday after not being able to earn one in his first four.
In fact, this is his first 1st-round KO since he won the Legacy Fighting Alliance (LFA) middleweight title in May 2021. That win earned him an opportunity to fight in the UFC, and the win over Marquez is putting the rest of the division on notice that “Robocop” is ready for more.
Marquez’s loss to Rodrigues ended a two-fight winning streak, as he was initially prepared to face Wellington Turman on Saturday. However, Turman had to withdraw due to an orbital bone injury and was replaced by Rodrigues.
Bantamweight: Adrian Yanez (16-3, 6-0 UFC) def. Tony Kelley (8-3, 2-2 UFC) by technical knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Adrian Yanez knocks out Tony Kelley in Austin, much to the delight of the UFC faithful.
Yanez put on a striking clinic in front of his fellow Texans in Austin, as he floored Kelley in the first round and used effective ground and pound until the referee called the fight. Yanez has now won his first five fights in the UFC after winning a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series.
Yanez, 28, fights out of Houston and has finished everyone he’s faced thus far in a UFC-promoted fight. The bantamweight division is one of the toughest in the UFC, but Yanez is tied for the third longest active winning streak in the division along with TJ Dillashaw and Jack Shore. At this rate, a ranked challenger should be in his immediate future.
Kelley, whose loss to Yanez snapped a two-fight winning streak, came to weigh-ins 1.5 pounds over the non-title bantamweight limit. Therefore, Yanez’s win will qualify as a catchweight bout and Kelley will forfeit 20% of his purse to Yanez.
Women’s Flyweight: Natalia Silva (13-5-1, 1-0 UFC) def. Jasmine Jasudavicius (7-2, 2-1 UFC) by unanimous decision (Watch on ESPN+)
It’s been 901 days since Silva last fought in MMA, and in her UFC debut she earned a big victory over Jasudavicius in Austin. The unanimous decision win came in upset fashion for Silva, as she landed 81 more strikes (120-39) than her opponent while tallying two takedowns during the fight.
Welterweight: Jeremiah Wells (11-2 1 NC, 3-0 UFC) def. Court McGee (22-11, 10-10 UFC) by knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Jeremiah Wells stuns the Austin crowd with an incredible left hook in the first round of his bout vs. Short McGee.
“I visualized this,” Wells said after his first-round knockout of McGee at UFC Austin. Wells has now won five in a row, three by knockout and two by submission. Wells is 3-0 in the UFC and will look to take on a bigger challenge in his next fight. For McGee, this is just the second time he has been finished in 33 career MMA fights. Santiago Ponzinibbio was the last to finish him, when he was knocked out over six years ago.
Featherweight: Ricardo Ramos (16-4, 7-3 UFC) def. Danny Chavez (11-5-1, 1-2-1 UFC) by knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Ricardo Ramos lands a perfectly executed spinning elbow to take the KO victory over Danny Chavez.
Ramos wasted little time against Chavez with a first-round spinning elbow knockout. It’s Ramos’ first first-round knockout since April 2015 and his fourth career knockout in 16 career wins. There have been just five spinning elbow knockouts in UFC history, and Ramos now has two of them, the first coming against Aiemann Zahabi in the third round of their fight in Nov. 2017.
Women’s Strawweight: Maria Oliveira (13-5, 1-2 UFC) def. Gloria de Paula (6-5, 2-3 UFC) by split decision (Watch on ESPN+)
Oliveira and de Paula put on a three-round showcase with “Spider Girl” emerging victorious as two of the three judges leaned her way for the decision. Oliveira, who entered as a +210 underdog, earned her first win in the UFC after losing in her debut to Tabatha Ricci.
Related: How ‘the best party crasher ever’ Maria Oliveira became friends with pop star Anitta
Bantamweight: Cody Stamann (20-5-1, 6-4-1 UFC) def. Eddie Wineland (24-16-1, 11-12 UFC) by technical knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Cody Stamann uses a combo of punches to grab a TKO win over Eddie Wineland in the first round.
It took Stamann just 59 seconds to knock out Wineland on Saturday with an impressive first-round performance. Stamann snapped a three-fight losing streak with the victory, and earned his first win by finish in the UFC.
Middleweight: Phil Hawes (12-3, 5-2 UFC) def. Deron Winn (7-3, 2-3 UFC) by technical knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Phil Hawes lays the punishment on Deron Winn, which causes Herb Dean to step in and end the fight.
Hawes put on an absolute show in Austin as he finished Winn with a second-round TKO. Hawes has now won eight of his past nine, and found success with a bevy of technical strikes from distance and elbows on the inside. Hawes outlanded Winn by 86 strikes (118-32) on Saturday, the fourth-most in UFC middleweight history.
Middleweight: Roman Dolidze (10-1, 4-1 UFC) def. Kyle Daukaus (11-3 1 NC, 3-3 1 NC UFC) by knockout (Watch on ESPN+)
Roman Dolidze catches Kyle Daukaus with a knee, then finishes him off with a flurry of punches.
Dolidze opened the card in style with a first-round knockout over Daukaus. Dolidze was a +210 underdog coming to win with +800 odds to win by knockout according to Caesars Sportsbook. Six of his eight career finishes have come via first-round knockout.