Winnipeg’s Brad Katona preparing to fight champ for bantamweight belt

Winnipeg mixed martial artist Brad (Superman) Katona will be getting back in the cage next month for the first time in more than a year.

Katona will be fighting for a belt after signing a three-fight contract with Elite MMA Championship in Europe.

It’s only been two years since Katona became the first Canadian to win a regular season of The Ultimate Fighter. But back-to-back losses quickly spelled the end of his time with the UFC, getting released in February.

“They took on guys that I had beaten. It doesn’t make sense,” Katona told Global News. “I don’t think it was fair, but life’s not fair. You got to keep moving forward. So yeah, it was rough. I’m not gonna say it was easy, but at the same time, the goals are the same — be the best in the world.”

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Read more: The Ultimate Fighter champ Brad Katona of Winnipeg reaching for the stars

Katona lives and trains in Dublin, Ireland. And it wasn’t easy getting his career back on track. The 28-year-old found it a bit of a struggle to find a new fight promotion while the world went on lockdown during the pandemic.

“It was kinda really bad timing to be a free agent,” he said. “The time we’re in, it’s not like you can be choosing too much either. There’s a show that’s wanting to keep me active and putting fights on — I’m happy to hop on it.”

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When the coronavirus first struck, Katona headed home to Winnipeg, but returned overseas a few months later.

“Everything was closed,” said Katona. “They went into a hard lockdown here in Ireland. I don’t think you could even go further than five kilometres from your residence. It was really hard hit.”

Usually, preparing for a fight involves lots of close contact, so with some tight restrictions in the country, it’s made training a little more difficult.

“You got to be creative with training,” Katona said. “So it’s just finding ways to keep your strength and conditioning up. I can still hit the bag.”

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Read more: Winnipegger Brad ‘Superman’ Katona to fight at UFC 231 in Toronto

His first fight since last September will be on Halloween in Germany against the champion, Stipe Brčić of Croatia. And the EMC’s bantamweight title will be up for grabs.

“I’ve never had a chance to fight for a title yet,” he said. “So this is a first for me, which keeps things nice and exciting.

“The plan is to put in a spectacular performance here, get a finish because everyone loves finishes. People love home runs, touchdowns, knockouts, so that’s usually the plan.”

Being a title fight, it’ll be a five-round event, and while his opponent only has one loss on his record, Katona still likes the matchup.

“He’s a physical fighter,” said Katona. “He’s not overly technical. He’s good kinda everywhere, but he’s not one of those refined strikers or refined wrestlers.

“I’m the more skilled. I’m the better fighter. I even think I’m the physically stronger fighter when push comes to shove.”

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RAW: UFC Ultimate Fighter Winner Brad Katona Interview

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