Weekend Warrior: Featherweights Carry UFC Water in Russia

Zabit Magomedsharipov has everything the Ultimate Fighting Championship seeks in a star: charisma, marketability, and talent. So far, the results have followed suit. Magomedsharipov will draw his first headlining assignment when he collides with Calvin Kattar in the UFC Fight Night 163 main event on Saturday at CSKA Arena in Moscow, where another decisive victory could thrust the Russian featherweight into title contention at 145 pounds. Meanwhile, former Bellator MMA champion Alexander Volkov meets Greg Hardy in the three-round heavyweight co-headliner.

A 13-fight winning streak strengthens Magomedsharipov’s position ahead of his latest outing. The 28-year-old Mark Henry and Ricardo Almeida protégé last appeared at UFC 235, where he took a unanimous decision from Jeremy Stephens on March 2. A dynamic and well-rounded martial artist, Magomedsharipov sports 13 finishes among his 17 career victories, seven by submission and six others by knockout or technical knockout. He holds the Master of Sport designation in sanda.

Cover Photo: MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News (Getty Images)

Body heat: Gina Carano Lights Up Instagram

Zabit Magomedsharipov

Zabit Magomedsharipov kicks Jeremy Stephens. Photo: Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News (Getty Images)

Kattar, 31, has compiled a 4-1 record since arriving in the UFC in 2017. Spawned by the Team Sityodtong outfit in Boston, he last competed at UFC 238 in June, when he put away Ricardo Lamas with first-round punches. Other notable wins over former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Chris Fishgold, Team Tiger Schulmann’s Shane Burgos and Team Alpha Male mainstay Andre Fili buoy the outstanding 23-fight Kattar resume.

UFC Fight Night “Magomedsharipov vs. Kattar”—which streams to ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT—also features two welterweight confrontations, as Zelim Imadaev faces Danny Roberts and Ramazan Emeev tackles Anthony Rocco Martin, and a pair of light heavyweight battles, as Khadis Ibragimov locks horns with Ed Herman and Shamil Gamzatov toes the line against Klidson Abreu. In addition, ESPN+ will stream the entire seven-fight undercard, starting at 11 a.m. ET/8 a.m. PT.

Generational talent: Getting to Know UFC Icon Georges St-Pierre

Calvin Kattar

Calvin Kattar lands a right hand to the head of Renato Moicano. Photo: Ed Mulholland (Getty Images)

Away from the Octagon, the UFC’s chief competitor returns to the stage with Bellator 233 on Friday at the Winstar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma. Prospective middleweight contenders do battle in the headliner, as John Salter squares off with Dutch kickboxer Costello van Steenis. Paramount Network will air the event live at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT.

Follow Mandatory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.