Brad Katona will compete for the first time since his UFC release later this month, as he’s set to face EMC bantamweight champion Stipe Brcic on October 31 in Germany.
The Ultimate Fighter 27 winner hasn’t fought since his loss to Hunter Azure at UFC Vancouver in Sept 2019. While many pundits felt like a move to Bellator would be the right fit, Katona explained why they didn’t have him on their radar.
“[Bellator] felt it was in our best interest to get a win,” Katona told Cageside Press. “Bellator doesn’t want to make a name off of signing ex-UFC guys. So for us to be in our best negotiating position, let’s go beat a good guy. That’s going to open up all the doors. If I put on a spectacular performance that I think I’m capable of, I’m hoping to talk to Bellator … or the UFC. And this isn’t discounting EMC, this is a big fight and everything. But I do have it in my contract that I can escape or hop over to a major organization [after].”
Katona (8-2) went 2-2 during his UFC run, picking up wins over Jay Cucciniello and Matthew Lopez while dropping back-to-back fights against Merab Dvalishvili and Azure. The SBG Ireland product also picked up notable exhibitions wins over Kyler Phillips and Bryce Mitchell during TUF 27, but that wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the UFC roster.
His opponent Brcic (8-1) is currently riding a three-fight win streak, including a second-round submission victory over 20-fight veteran Luca Iovine where he picked up the EMC 135-pound title. The 27-year-old has finished five of his nine career opponents.
While the Canadian has immense respect for his opponent, Katona expects to put on his best performance to date.
“I really see it being a standout breakout performance for myself,” Katona explained. This wasn’t just near like six weeks or eight weeks [camp] … this was a year in the making. Where I didn’t take time off from my [last] fight. This is my opportunity to really show myself off, show off skill set, and, and it’s quite exciting.”
EMC 6 takes place on October 31 at UFD Training Centre in Dusseldorf, Germany. Former UFC welterweight Ismail Naurdiev (20-4) headlines the card against Amiran Gogoladze (11-1) for the vacant welterweight title.