“I thought for a second, ‘Oh, he is done,’ and then he wasn’t,” Allen told reporters after his second-round TKO over Kattar at UFC APEX. “He’s tough as they come. As soon as I pounced on him, he upkicked me.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I thought you were finished.’ Then I got the choke on, and he fought all the way through it. Even in between rounds, there’s a chance, I thought maybe he wouldn’t come out for the second round. And being the guy he is, of course he was. It was stupid of me to think he wasn’t coming out.”
Kattar made it out for the second round after suffering an obvious knee injury late in the first, but his octagon stay wasn’t long in the second. A leg kick from Allen sent him backward, and when he planted, he quickly collapsed after he realized his leg couldn’t support him.
It was Allen’s 10th straight win, and one he never would have expected. He hoped to make a statement that would secure a featherweight title shot against champ Alexander Volkanovski. It’s unclear now how his career will proceed with such an outcome.
“Yeah, [I wanted to call Volkanovski out], because obviously there was the injury with Yair [Rodriguez] and Brian [Ortega], and then Calvin and [Josh] Emmett, it was a real close decision. So I wanted a performance to stand out so I could actually ask, like, ‘Look, this deserves it more than that and that.’ But now, I’m in the same boat, we might as well just all hang out together and talk about it.’”
Asked for his reaction to Volkanovski’s likely move to 155 pounds for a superfight against lightweight champ Islam Makhachev, Arnold joked, “I might well move up as well ... this division sucks.”
If Volkanovski moves up, creating another logjam, that increases the possibility of an interim title shot that could take place against Rodriguez or Emmett. The latter Arnold has history with; they were scheduled to meet at UFC Raleigh in 2020 before Emmett was forced to withdraw.
True to form, Allen expressed no preferences for his next opponent. As evidenced by Saturday’s outcome, he wasn’t having much luck anyway.
“It’s hard to say who deserves it, so I don’t know – whoever,” he said.
Allen will get his right hand checked on to see if a suspected injury will keep him out of action. Otherwise, he hopes to return when the UFC comes back to London in March. Things might not have panned out exactly the way he liked in Vegas, but he is still in the win column.
“Bittersweet, but the things were going right in the first round – everything was going as I planned, as I had trained, but it is what it is,” Allen said. “It’s the sport we’re in. Hopefully his injures aren’t bad and he heals up quick.”
Watch Allen’s full interview below.