Everybody Has A Story
It’s the second week of The Ultimate Fighter and for one man, the title of “undefeated” has already been revoked. Last week the captains, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and UFC light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier, chose their teams and Team Cormier’s Joe Giannetti claimed first victory over Team Miocic’s John Gunther, taking him out with a quick submission victory.
This week Miocic gets a chance to even the score. He chose Kyler Phillips to take on Team Cormier’s Brad Katona in the season’s first featherweight fight. MustLoveMMA.com took a closer look at the two men seeking to remain undefeated tonight.
Canadian Katona (6-0) crossed the Atlantic to become a student of SBG Ireland, home to a host of UFC athletes, most famously Conor McGregor.
“I heard an interview with John Kavanagh, and he said he was very happy with Conor winning, but he wanted to prove that his methodology works and he wants to produce more world champions to prove that,” recalled Katona. “I saw that and I thought, ‘Why not myself? You’re looking for someone to make a world champion, I’ll come to you.’”
A successful amateur boxer—he won gold in the Canadian Golden Gloves 2013 tournament—and now one of Canada’s hottest MMA prospects, Katona lives in Dublin full-time, although he’s coping well with the switch to the TUF house in Vegas. For a natural bantamweight, switching up a class has helped with the gruelling preparation for what—if he’s successful—will be three fights over the course of a matter of weeks.
“I could actually stay mentally sane by eating some carbs while everyone else is starving down,” he laughs. “I just tried to go in there with a positive outlook and enjoy everything about the experience.”
Katona faces Kyler Phillips (5-0), a martial artist since the tender age of three, when his father introduced him to Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the Gracie Academy.
The 2012 IBJJF world champion, Phillips is no stranger to UFC reality TV, having been featured on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, where he needed only 46 seconds to triumph over James Gray Jr.
While that appearance didn’t land him a coveted UFC contract, he’s ready to try again. He views fighting for the promotion as “fulfilling my purpose,” the culmination of 19 years spent training, and promises there’s much more to come. “Stay tuned, I’m gonna give you guys a helluva show.”
The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated airs tonight at 10:00p.m. ET on FS1.