Zabit Magomedsharipov says recent infection impacted cardio in UFC on ESPN+ 21 main event

Zabit Magomedsharipov thought he did well at UFC on ESPN+ 21 – but says next time he’ll do even better.

One half of the evening’s headliner, Magomedsharipov (18-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) defeated Calvin Kattar (20-4 MMA, 4-2 UFC) by three-round unanimous decision. The bout was a rebooking of an matchup originally slated to take place on Oct. 18 at UFC on ESPN 6 in Boston. An infection was Magomedsharipov’s cause for withdrawal, and the bout was rescheduled for Saturday’s card at CSKA Arena in Moscow.

After the fight, Magomedsharipov spoke about his victory on the ESPN post-fight show. He indicated he was happy with his performance, but felt like his cardio was hindered due to the infection.

“I knew he was a tough guy,” Magomedsharipov said through an interpreter. “We didn’t expect him to block so much, so I had to kick him the legs. This is just what was different from our expectations. … I got a little tired in the third round because I got an infection when I was in Thailand. I had to take antibiotics, so I think that influenced my performance.”

MMA fans have attached themselves to Magomedsharipov for his frenetic movement, flashy style, and awkward athleticism. As long as he continues to fight, Magomedsharipov said he will continue to make entertaining the fans one of his main focuses.

“I try to practice as much as I can and as hard as I can,” Magomedsharipov said. “Whatever I do, I do for my fans. I want to make them happy in every possible way.”

Magomedsharipov was the one who competed inside the cage Saturday, but he made sure to credit his coach Mark Henry for all of his progression on a week-to-week basis.

“He’s an excellent coach,” Magomedsharipov said. “As soon as I came to the U.S., I started to practice with him. It is always a pleasure to practice in New Jersey. He does a lot to help me win and I think that he has made a great contribution to all of the victories that I’ve had so far.”

In the cage after the fight, Magomedsharipov stated he believes a shot at championship gold is next for him. At UFC 245 in Las Vegas on Dec. 14, UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is set to defend his title against Alexander Volkanovski. There’s no doubt Magomedsharipov will be watching closely.

“I think it’s going to be a very exciting fight and I can’t wait to see it,” Magomedsharipov said. “I will also be happy to face the winner of this upcoming fight. I think I fully deserve the tile fight. After enough preparation, I should be more than ready to have a go at the title.”

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