Calvin Kattar: Zabit Magomedsharipov made mistake ahead of UFC on ESPN+ 21

“The Boston Finisher,” Calvin Kattar, is in enemy territory in Moscow as he makes his final preparations ahead of his Saturday bout with Zabit Magomedsharipov at UFC on ESPN+ 21 in Moscow.

Kattar (20-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Magomedsharipov (17-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) were due to face off last month in Kattar’s home of Boston, but Kattar now finds himself facing a long-distance road assignment against the talented Dagestani, who has a huge fanbase in town ahead of their main event clash.

But the Bostonian seemed to embrace the role of out-of-town underdog as he playfully pretended to attack Magomedsharipov’s backdrop display before working out for fans and media in Russia.

And, speaking to the crowd after his workout, the Massachusetts native said he loved hearing the passionate crowd chanting for his opponent but planned on turning them around and earning their respect by the time his fight with Magomedsharipov was over.

“I feed off this (expletive),” he said (via RT Sport). “I know the Russians have a big fanbase out here, fight fanbase, and I want to earn every last one of them before I go back to the U.S.”

Kattar also said he respected his opponent for accepting the fight with him in the first place, as he acknowledged the Russian’s credentials as one of the featherweight elite. But he warned that the local hero had bitten off more than he could chew by agreeing to fight him.

“I rank him up at the top,” he said. “He’s a beast, man, I know he’s there for a reason. Props to him for taking the fight, he deserves top-5, but I give him respect for taking the fight and staying busy rather than hanging on the sidelines waiting for a top-5 opponent. But he signed the wrong contract.”

UFC on ESPN+ 21 streams live on ESPN+.

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