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'UFC Fight Night 213: Kattar vs. Allen' fight-by-fight preview

We're back in Vegas Saturday with another stacked card. Let's break it down.

Calvin Kattar vs. Arnold Allen

Calvin Kattar (23-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) and Arnold Allen (18-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) clash in this meeting of featherweight standouts looking to further their case for title contention.

Kattar makes a relatively quick turnaround after competing in mid-June, when he dropped a hotly debated split decision to Josh Emmett. The New England Cartel member didn't lose any ground in the divisional chase following the entertaining contest, and looks to cement his standing as a top-5 fighter with a victory over the surging Brit on Saturday.

Perfect through his first nine UFC appearances and riding an 11-fight winning streak overall, Allen is the top emerging contender in the featherweight division. The 28-year-old extended his run of success with a first-round technical knockout win over Dan Hooker in London back in March, showcasing the powerful striking that accompanies his already established grappling skills.

Following that victory, Allen called for a matchup with Kattar, who was – and still is – stationed one position ahead of him in the rankings. It's a fight that makes a great deal of sense for each competitor at this time and should help clarify the contender picture at the top of the 145-pound weight class

Tim Means vs. Max Griffin

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Veteran welterweights looking to get things moving in the right direction again meet in the co-main event, as Tim Means (32-13-1 MMA, 14-10 UFC) and Max Griffin (18-9 MMA, 6-7 UFC) square off on Saturday night.

After just a tick under a year on the sidelines, Means returned to action in June and had his three-fight winning streak snapped by Kevin Holland. The 38-year-old remains an excellent test of character and skills just outside the upper tier in the welterweight ranks, and looks to re-affirm that standing with a win over Griffin.

Much like his opponent, Griffin arrives in Las Vegas looking to start a new run of success after having his own three-fight winning streak snapped in his initial 2022 appearance. Following stoppage wins over Ramiz Brahimaj and Song Kenan, and a unanimous decision victory over Carlos Condit, Griffin dropped a competitive split decision to Neil Magny in March, and looks to regroup here.

These two have been fixtures in the division for the last several years and perpetual tough outs for whomever they've faced, and there is no reason to believe that won't carry over to this weekend when they share the octagon with one another.

Waldo Cortes Acosta vs. Jared Vanderaa

Waldo Cortes Acosta (7-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) faces off with Jared Vanderaa (12-9 MMA, 1-5 UFC) in a clash of heavyweight graduates from Dana White's Contender Series.

A former pitcher with MLB dreams, Cortes Acosta transitioned to MMA, but continues to throw fastballs, having earned each of his last three victories by stoppage due to strikes. The Dominican newcomer made relatively quick work of Danilo Suzart to punch his ticket to the UFC roster, and he'll aim to do the same when he steps in with Vanderaa here.

Vanderaa is entering Saturday's contest on a four-fight slide and sporting a 1-5 record inside the octagon overall. Now, to be fair, the first two losses came to fighters currently ranked in the top 15, and the second two came against savvy veterans Andrei Arlovski and Aleksei Oleinik, but the pressure is on Vanderaa to prove he can hang at this level.

Will the debuting Cortes Acosta add to Vanderaa's woes or can the more experienced fighter spoil his first trip into the octagon?

Josh Fremd vs. Tresean Gore

Middleweights with ambitions of moving up the divisional ladder clash here as Josh Fremd (9-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) takes on TUF 29's Tresean Gore (3-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC).

A solid run under the LFA banner coupled with a victory in front of the Lookin' for a Fight crew earned Fremd a spot on the UFC roster, but his promotional debut didn't go so well. The Pennsylvania native and Factory X representative dropped a unanimous decision to Anthony Hernandez at UFC 273, and arrives in Vegas bent of getting back into the win column.

Gore showed a ton of raw potential as a member of Team Ortega on Season 29 of "The Ultimate Fighter," but he was injured ahead of the finale and has subsequently struggled in his first two UFC assignments. He was out-hustled by middleweight winner Bryan Battle in his debut, and ate a cold right hand from Fremd's teammate Cody Brundage last time out, leaving him on a two-fight slide heading into this one.

Something has got to give in this clash of 185-pound hopefuls, and it will be interesting to see which one walks away with their first UFC victory.

Dustin Jacoby vs. Khalil Rountree Jr.

It's a potentially explosive clash of dark horse talents in the light heavyweight division as Dustin Jacoby (18-5-1 MMA, 6-2-1 UFC) and Khalil Rountree Jr. (10-5 MMA, 6-5 UFC) meet in the main card opener.

In seven fights since returning to the UFC fold, Jacoby has gone 6-0-1, entering Saturday's contest on a four-fight winning streak. The 34-year-old veteran earned a gnarly first-round knockout win over Da-un Jung last time out in July, and with another victory this weekend, could make a push for a date with a top-10 opponent next time out.

Rountree Jr. hasn't enjoyed the same sustained success as Jacoby of late, but his last two wins have been memorable and shown that he's turned a corner in his competitive career. Two fights back, the former "The Ultimate Fighter" finalist earned a TKO win over Modestas Bukauskas with an oblique kick, and in his most recent showing, Rountree Jr. finishes Karl Roberson with a thudding kick to the body after putting him on the deck with a clean, clubbing right hook.

These gentlemen are climbing the competitive ladder on parallel tracks, and we get to benefit from their paths crossing on Saturday. Expect fireworks.

Phil Hawes vs. Roman Dolidze

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Phil Hawes (12-3 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Roman Dolidze (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) meet in a bout between middleweights angling to keep making noise and climbing the ranks in Saturday's final prelim.

Hawes is 12-3 overall and 4-1 in the UFC, including a win over top-15 fighter Nassourdine Imavov. Last time out, he rebounded from his lone setback inside the octagon with a lopsided pummeling of Deron Winn. A tremendous athlete with good wrestling and serious power, Hawes continues to feel like someone capable of making a run towards the top of the division.

After starting his UFC tenure with two wins at light heavyweight, Dolidze moved to middleweight and dropped a tepid decision to Trevin Giles. Since then, the Georgian competitor has rebounded with a pair of victories, grinding one out against Laureano Staropoli before scoring a first-round knockout win over Kyle Daukaus in his most recent appearance.

Each of these men currently hovers just outside the top 15 in the 185-pound weight class, and while the victor may not be assured a place in the rankings after this one, they could very well find themselves facing someone with a number next to their name when they return to action.

Andrei Arlovski vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima

It's a clash of veteran heavyweights still doing quality work inside the UFC cage this weekend as Andrei Arlovski (34-20 MMA, 23-14 UFC) steps in with Marcos Rogerio de Lima (19-8-1 MMA, 8-6 UFC).

The MMA equivalent of The Energizer Bunny, the 43-year-old Arlovski just keeps going and going and going. He returns to the UFC Apex on a four-fight winning streak, with wins in six of his last seven, and was able to draw level with Jim Miller for the most victories in UFC history with a win over de Lima on Saturday.

The 37-year-old de Lima is the young whippersnapper in this pairing, and while he's looking to get back into the win column after a loss to Blagoy Ivanov earlier this year, the Brazilian has been solid since making the full time commitment to heavyweight. He earned a stoppage win over Ben Rothwell two fights back and comes with the kind of aggressive style that has given Arlovski trouble in the past, so we'll see if it gives him trouble again here.

Can Arlovski earn UFC win No. 24 and his 35th victory overall or will de Lima allow Miller to remain solo atop the list of fighters with the most UFC wins?

Joseph Holmes vs. Junyong Park

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Joseph Holmes (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Junyong Park (14-5 MMA, 4-2 UFC) square off in a battle of aspiring middleweights on Saturday's prelims.

After losing his short-notice debut to Jamie Pickett in January, Holmes returned to action with a full camp behind him in May and made quick work of Alen Amedovski, submitting him in 64 seconds. "Ugly Man Joe" believes he's one of, if not the very best grappler in the division, and we'll see if he can continue making a case for that when he makes his third trek to the octagon this weekend.

Park bounced back from a second-round knockout loss to Gregory Rodrigues last October with a split decision win over Eryk Anders in May. Now 4-1 in his last five fights, the 31-year-old "Iron Turtle" looks to add another victory to his resume and take another step forward in the division here.

This is a solid step up in competition for Holmes and a good chance for Park to potentially prove he's a tier above the recent Dana White's Contender Series contestant. They should combine for an entertaining clash this weekend, and we'll see how much further up the divisional ladder the victor can climb next time out.

Chase Hooper vs. Steve Garcia

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It should be an all-action affair when Chase Hooper (11-2-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Steve Garcia (12-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC) touch down in the octagon opposite one another this weekend at the UFC Apex.

The 23-year-old Hooper has alternated wins and losses through his first five UFC outings, entering this one off a third-round stoppage victory over Felipe Colares in May. He looked significantly more grown up and filled out in that outing, and will aim to avoid continuing the "win one, lose one" pattern his UFC career has followed thus far in this one.

Garcia has also alternated results through his first three outings, but unfortunately for the Albuquerque native, it's been two losses with a win sandwiched in between. The 30-year-old scored a solid second-round finish of Charlie Ontiveros last October, but then was stopped in the opening stanza by newcomer Maheshate at UFC 275 in June.

Each man comes out quickly and looks to attack at every turn, so we should be treated to an action-packed contest for as long as this one lasts.

Cody Durden vs. Carlos Mota

It's a flyweight clash that should be explosive early in the evening as Cody Durden (13-4-1 MMA, 2-2-1 UFC) steps in opposite promotional newcomer Carlos Mota (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

Durden is 2-2-1 through five UFC starts, but enters Saturday's contest off a rapid first-round stoppage win over J.P. Buys. The aggressive American Top Team product is either in quick fights or quality battles, so you know that every time his name is on the call sheet, you're in for something fun, no matter what.

The 27-year-old Mota gets the call to replace his countryman Kleydson Rodrigues, arriving on a two-fight winning streak and carrying an 8-1 record overall. His lone setback came at the start of the year against Charles Johnson in the fifth round of an LFA title fight, who subsequently vacated the title when he was called up to the UFC. Mota claimed the vacant strap with a first-round stoppage win at the end of August, and looks to continue his quality run this weekend.

This should be an interesting fight early in the night, as Durden is a confident, attacking fighter and Mota has proven himself to be a high-level talent on the regional scene. Whether that translates into success on the big stage remains to be seen, but this weekend's debut should provide a chance to make a solid initial read.

This story first published at UFC.com.