Josh Emmett defeats Calvin Kattar and demands a shot at the UFC featherweight championship

Josh Emmett’s plea for a shot at the UFC featherweight title got a big boost on Saturday when he made a split decision over Calvin Kattar in the main event of UFC Fight Night in Austin, Aus. Texas.

Emmett (18-2) attacked Kattar (23-6) with winged right hands and body shots in a five-round back and forth fight. The three judges’ scorecards were close. Two officials decided the 145-pound fight 48-47 against Emmett, who started as a betting underdog. A third saw it 48-47 for Kattar. While the fight was undoubtedly a close one and garnered a wide range of fan scores on social media, Emmett said he is confident in the outcome. Current champion Alexander Volkanovski will defend his title against Max Holloway at UFC 276 on July 2 in Las Vegas, and Emmett has asked for a chance to meet the winner.

“I thought I was four [rounds] to one,” Emmett said. “I think [it should be a title shot next time]. Calvin Kattar was number 4. Look at the guys he’s fought. Holloway and Volkanovski are arguably some of the best featherweights of all time, but they need new blood and I can get through this.”

Saturday’s match basically looked like a boxing match, as neither of the featherweights appeared to use leg kicks or takedowns. Kattar’s best weapon was his jab, which he landed consistently throughout the fight. He opened a cut above Emmett’s left eye with the jab early and opened it wider with an elbow in the fourth round.

Sacramento’s Emmett gave his best from close range. He actually went to Kattar’s body during the middle rounds, sometimes forcing him to come back with the back kick. Even when Kattar blocked the shots, they had a visible weight behind them.

In the fifth, Emmett picked his points and crushed Kattar with combinations, while Kattar tried to keep things at bay to deliver his jab.

Emmett has won five in a row. Only Volkanovski (9), Arnold Allen (9) and Bryce Mitchell (6) have longer active wins in the division.