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UFC 249 preview: Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar odds, predictions

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Stephens and Calvin Kattar, two American rival fighters, will do battle on the main card at UFC 249 Saturday. These two featherweights should make for a good battle. The main card starts at 10 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN+. Here, we preview the bout, along with the latest odds and predictions.

UFC 249: Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar Odds

Kattar, 32, comes into this match with a 20-4 career mark. Stephens has lost 17 of his 45 bouts throughout a 15-year career. Boasting the height advantage and much better previous success, Kattar is the overwhelming favorite heading into UFC 249.

Per Bovada, here are the latest odds:

  • Calvin Kattar: -250
  • Jeremy Stephens: +195

Despite being a significant underdog in his first fight since Oct. 19 against Yair Rodriguez (loss via unanimous decision), Stephens should not be discounted here. He boasts a 68% knockout rate in his 28 career wins. Stephens also weighs the same as Kattar despite coming in three inches shorter. He packs a tremendous punch.

Calvin Kattar: Something to prove

Despite a solid 20-4 career record, Kattar has lost two of his past four fights. He last took on Zabit Magomedsharipov on UFC Fight Night in Russia back on Nov. 9, losing via unanimous decision. Prior to knocking out his next two opponents, Kattar dropped another decision to Renato Moicano. This came on the heels of an 18-2 start to his career.

If the Massachusetts’ native wants to prove his worth in the main card and with the UFC world under a microscope, he will have to show out against inferior competition. Kattar has the length and height advantage heading into this one. That should play a role.

Jeremy Stephens: Finally, a new challenge

This represents Stephen’s first fight against an opponent not named Yair Rodríguez since he lost to Magomedsharipov during UFC 235 in Las Vegas over a year ago. His rematch against Rodriguez did not go too well after their first bout was canceled over an accidental eye-poke on Rodriguez’ part.

All said, Stephens has not won a fight since he knocked out Josh Emmett back in February of 2018. He’s at a disadvantage from a strikes-landed-per-minute perspective, but tends to mound a solid defense. That’s going to be the biggest key for Stephens as an underdog in this match.

Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar: Notable quotes ahead of UFC 249

Outside of a previous incident between the two in Las Vegas, there hasn’t been much said between these two. That was not the case before this fight was postponed earlier in the spring.

“Skids can happen when you’re fighting the best guys in the world,” Kattar told MMA Junkie back in February. “I’m sure he’ll be coming out strong like a guy looking to keep his job, and I’ll be there looking to put him away every round.”

It might not seem like shade until we realize that Kattar is out here trying to end Stephens’ career. Based on the lack of success the latter has seen recently, that makes some sense.

The interesting thing here is that Stephens is the higher-ranked fighter coming in at seventh compared to Kattar’s No. 9 ranking. That seems to matter little when it comes to perception.

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UFC 249: Jeremy Stephens vs. Calvin Kattar prediction

Kattar obviously has the upper hand here. His recent success coupled with struggles we’ve seen from Stephens suggests this. That’s the narrative being thrown around heading into UFC 249.

Stamina could very much play a role here, and that’s why I think Stephens will be much more competitive than the odds suggest. His average fight is nearly 12 minutes compared to about 10:30 for Kattar. Even then, this fight seems to be headed in the favorite’s direction.

Prediction: Calvin Kattar wins in a knockout in Round 3.