Arnold Allen did what he had to do, but because of circumstances outside his control, he may not reap the rewards of his efforts.
Allen stopped Calvin Kattar eight seconds into Round 2 on Saturday at Apex on the UFC campus in Las Vegas to score a TKO victory in their featherweight clash in the main event of UFC Vegas 63.
Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski took to Twitter to urge them to make a statement, given that both the fifth-ranked Kattar and the sixth-ranked Allen could have been in line for the next title shot with a win.
Allen started a bit slow, but was blistering Kattar with straight left hands in the second half of the opening round. He hit Kattar with one of those lefts late, and Kattar backed into the cage. Kattar attempted a flying knee, but landed awkwardly on his right leg and went down to the canvas in obvious pain.
Allen pursued him, but there were 10 seconds left in the round and Kattar managed to survive. The ringside physician entered the ring and Kattar convinced him not to stop the fight.
But Allen blasted his left leg with a calf kick to open the second and basically kicked Kattar’s leg out from underneath him. As Kattar stepped back on his right leg, the knee appeared to go out again and referee Herb Dean jumped in to halt it just a few seconds later.
It was by far the biggest win in Allen’s career, running his overall record to 19-1 and extended his winning streak to 10. But he didn’t have the look of a winner in the cage. Even though he had looked sharp in the first, he wasn’t able to make the statement that Volkanovski requested because of Kattar’s injury.
“I can’t really ask for a title shot after this,” Allen said, glumly.
Volkanovski is going to challenge newly crowned lightweight champion Islam Makhachev, likely in Perth, Australia, in February, so that opens the door for an interim championship to be created. No. 1 Max Holloway just lost to Volkanovski for a third time, so he won’t get the shot. No. 3 Brian Ortega is injured, so it looks like there are two for three spots: No 2 Yair Rodriguez, No. 4 Josh Emmett and Allen.
The tough part for the UFC’s matchmaking team will be choosing which one to leave out.
Allen did everything he needed to do to get it, except to do it over a lengthy period.
“I really wanted to get the five rounds in,” he said.
Allen connected on 28 of 67 strikes to 14 of 58 for Kattar. Allen closed the distanced, used feints to create openings and found a regular home for that straight left.
It was impressive in every way. Now, he just has to wait to see what matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard, UFC president Dana White and chief business officer Hunter Campbell decide to do.
That’s going to be the agonizing part for Allen.