ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If you’re going to walk out to someone else’s music, especially if you’re a replacement fighter making your UFC debut, you best be able to back up such bold action.
And that’s exactly what Calvin Kattar was able to do Saturday at UFC 214. The Metheun, Mass. featherweight, a substitute for Doo-Ho Choi, walked out to Tom Petty’s "Won't Back Down,” music used by former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman just last weekend.
Kattar then went out and backed things up against Team Alpha Male’s Andre Fili, using well-placed striking and turning up the heat late in each round to earn a unanimous decision at Honda Center. The judges’ scores were 30-27 across the board.
The opening round was a bit of a feeling-out period, as Fili went high with punches and Katter responded with overhand rights. Late in the round, Kattar scored a takedown and rained down left hands until the horn sounded.
Fili wasn’t without his moments in round two, but Kattar slowly wore him down with more sharp striking. He rocked Kattar late with a huge shot and again poured it on until the horn.
The pace slowed in the third, but Kattar had the offense that counted with a pair of knockdowns.
Kattar improved to 17-2 with his ninth consecutive victory, while Fili (16-5) has dropped two of his past three.
“This is what it feels like man,” Kattar said. “I’ve been waiting my entire life for this moment. ... It’s a dream come true.”