SALEM, NH- Long considered to be on the verge of stepping up to the brighter lights and bigger stage of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Calvin Kattar has his calendar circled for August when the UFC comes to Boston for the first time. But the rising mixed martial artist wants to take care of business in his backyard first.

“The UFC coming to Boston in August is an option, but before I even think about something like that I have to give respect to Gabriel Baino and concentrate on him and the fight coming up,” said the native of Methuen, MA and resident of Andover, MA, who will take on Baino in the main event of Combat Zone 44 at Rockingham Park June 14. “If I concentrate on what I’m doing, the rest will take care of itself.”
The career of Kattar (13-2-0) has skyrocketed and he’s attracted a huge following along the way while recording six TKO/KOs, three submissions, and four decisions, three of which were unanimous, against some truly tough and extremely skilled opponents. Baino (5-0-0), who hails from Brazil and fights for Team Link, brings his unblemished record into the event, dubbed “Steel Cage Fighters”.
“I don’t know much about him,” said Kattar. “All I can go off of really is what I’ve looked up. He’s five- and-oh with 2 knockouts, two submissions and a decision. He’s also had a couple of fights in Brazil that maybe aren’t documented. I know that looking at his last fight that was in April last year, he looked like I should beat him as long as I show up and do what I should. He’s a tough kid, he’s aggressive and I think he’s definitely going to give the fans the fight they want to see.”
Kattar comes in with a five-fight win streak as well, but he might have a speck of ring rust since his last match was eight months ago. He was lined up for the main event of Combat Zone 43 in January and had trained up to the fight, but then his opponent had to scratch due to an ill-timed ankle injury. He’s eager to strike someone other than his sparring partners.
“I switched up a little bit for this fight,” said Kattar, who until recently represented Wai Kru in Boston but is now with Carlo Neto BJJ in Somerville, MA. “I’ve gotten real good training with some of the top guys in the area. “I’m actually training with the kid I just fought, Sal Almeida, and Rodrigo Almeida (the victor of the co-main event of Combat Zone 43). I’m getting good work with all of them and they’re all at my weight, which helps, too.”
Kattar is now a featherweight, having dropped from 155 pounds to 145 for his last two bouts. Qualified observers believe that the change has made the extraordinary mixed martial artist an even tougher competitor.
“It’s definitely new territory. It made me more focused as a fighter all around because it has demanded more out of me,” he said. “At one-fifty-five, I was still able to get into some distractions and maybe once in a while even eat a cheat meal at night. But going to one-forty-five has caused me to focus on every aspect of my game and really wrap my mind around it. The cut (to make weight) is harder, but it just demands more of me as a fighter. It made me a better fighter, but I haven’t had any knock-outs or finishes at one-forty-five and that kind of bothers me a little bit. But I’m hoping for this fight that will change.”
Although Kattar is now lighter, his support in the Sports Club at Rockingham will still be heavy. He’s won all eight of his previous fights promoted by Combat Zone and has become a local legend in the process.
“I’ve got a good record so far fighting at home and for Combat Zone. I’m undefeated and I want to keep that streak alive,” said, the 25-year-old Kattar. “And I’ve tied my longest win streak and want to push it one more further. Little goals like that keep you focused on winning. I’m really happy with the support system I have and I’m excited about fighting in front of my home town crowd again. It’s been a long camp and I’m ready. I feel like this is going to be a really good show and I just can’t wait to fight.”
Tickets for Steel Cage Fighters, which presents 11 other highly competitive pro and amateur matches on the undercard, are $40 for general admission, $50, $75, $90 and $120 for ringside seating. Parking at Rockingham is free. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the first fight will be at 8:00 p.m.
For tickets or more information, contact Dave George at 978-360-3846 or visit The entire card, which is subject to change, may be viewed on the website.

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