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The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday visited Russia for the second time in roughly six months, as UFC Fight Night 163 touched down at the CSKA Arena in Moscow. Some stocks rose, and others took a dive.
Zabit Magomedsharipov: After picking up his sixth straight win and remaining unbeaten inside the UFC, Magomedsharipov is closing in on a shot at the featherweight title. He controlled a majority of the three rounds against Calvin Kattar in the main event with diversity in his striking attack, seamlessly mixing his kicks and punches while staying busier than his opponent and keeping him on the end of his punches. Afterward, Magomedsharipov called for a title shot against the Max Holloway-Alexander Volkanovski winner, and given his rank and consistent performances inside the Octagon, he just may get his wish.
Anthony Rocco Martin: Martin rebounded nicely in his first appearance since a June 29 loss to Demian Maia. In a three round unanimous decision over Ramazan Emeev, he showed off his well-rounded skills and greatly hindered the movement of his opponent with hard, heavy leg kicks, all while utilizing sound takedown defense and threatening with submissions. This win could serve as a springboard for Martin, who could get another crack against a Top 15 opponent sometime in the near future.
Magomed Ankalaev: Since losing his UFC debut to a Hail Mary submission executed by Paul Craig, Ankalaev has rattled off three straight victories. His latest win resulted in a highlight-reel front kick knockout of another talented prospect in Dalcha Lungiambula. Slowly but surely, Ankalaev has begun to reaffirm the hype that surrounded him when the UFC first signed him. While Ankalaev may still be a fight or two away from the Top 15, his combination of striking skills and powerful ground-and-pound will make him a problem for many light heavyweights on his way up the ladder.
Calvin Kattar: In what was the most significant opportunity of his UFC career thus far, Kattar was too hesitant, as failing to pull the trigger consistently in the first two rounds led to his having to play catch up in the third round, to no avail. While Kattar seemed to be coming on strong late, he could not put away Magomedsharipov and lost a clear-cut decision on the scorecards. Twice now Kattar has failed to make the leap when faced with elite competition, and he will have to work his way back once more if he wants another marquee matchup. Kattar is an excellent striker with the cardio required to go the long haul, but he has to work on his sense of urgency inside of the Octagon if he wants to develop into a true contender.
Zelim Imadaev: Still just 24 years of age, Imadaev entered the UFC to much fanfare while sporting an undefeated 8-0 record, with all eight wins coming via knockout. Since he signed, he has disappointed through two appearances, losing a decision to Max Griffin before being knocked out by Danny Roberts in Moscow. The hype surrounding Imadaev has quickly died out, and if he remains on the roster following his latest setback, he will most certainly be fighting for his job in his next assignment. Imadaev is a fast and ferocious striker, but must work on diversifying his skills and saving enough gas for the second and third rounds.
Ramazan Emeev: Entering UFC Fight Night 163 at a solid 3-0 inside the Octagon, Ramazan Emeev had the opportunity to set himself apart from the pack and throw his name in the hat of possible future contenders in the welterweight division. Instead, he came up a day late and a dollar short against Martin. Emeev simply had no answer for Martin’s heavy leg kicks and refused to adjust, leaving him severely compromised in the latter portion of the bout. It marked Emeev’s first loss inside the UFC, and in the his most important chance to date, he failed to put it together. In a deep division, it will be difficult for Emeev to work his way back toward a fight of significance.