Although Arnold Allen’s fight with Calvin Kattar ended prematurely, Allen looked like a title challenger in the opening round.
Allen was riding some serious momentum heading into this fight. He was on a nine-fight unbeaten streak, and most recently dispatched Dan Hooker in the first round. Kattar would prove to be his biggest test to date, however. The Bostonian was himself looking to re-enter the title picture after a win over Giga Chikadze and a controversial split decision loss to Josh Emmett.
In the first round, Allen clearly had the speed advantage over Katter. He tagged Kattar with several hard shots throughout the round and avoided most of the return fire. Late in the round, Kattar attempted to throw a flying knee. Unfortunately, he badly injured his knee upon landing. While Kattar attempted to continue in round two, one kick from Allen buckled the injured leg and ended the fight.
There is no way to determine how the fight would have played out without the injury. However, Allen’s skills in the first round looked incredibly promising. Not only did his striking look as dangerous as ever, but he also briefly showed impressive grappling offense.
The current featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, looks unstoppable at the moment. After a decisive win over former champion Max Holloway, Volkanovski has become the UFC’s number one pound for pound fighter. He now looks to take on newly crowned lightweight champion Islam Makhachev for the 155 pound title.
Regardless of how that fight goes, Volkanovski will have a tough challenge ahead if he eventually ends up facing Allen. Both fighters are well-rounded, possess knockout power, and are incredibly fast. It remains to be seen whether Allen can keep up with the more experienced Volkanovski over five full rounds. Nevertheless, he has undoubtedly emerged as a fascinating new challenger at 145 pounds.