Win­nipeg’s Brad Ka­tona liv­ing the dream

Journal Pioneer - - SPORTS - BY NEIL DAVID­SON

If fight­ing doesn’t pay off, Brad (Su­per­man) Ka­tona has a de­gree in me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing in his back pocket.

But so far so good for the 26-year-old from Win­nipeg.

Ka­tona, com­pet­ing as a feath­er­weight, won “The Ul­ti­mate Fighter Un­de­feated” re­al­ity TV show in July with a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion over Jay Cuc­ciniello in Las Ve­gas. On Satur­day, re­turn­ing to his more fa­mil­iar ban­tamweight divi­sion, Ka­tona (8-0-0) faces Amer­i­can Matthew Lopez (10-4-0) on the undercard of UFC 231 at Sco­tia­bank Arena. While Ka­tona is new to fight­ing as a ca­reer, he is a vet­eran of mar­tial arts. He took his first karate class at five — he and his brother were Power Ranger fans so chose karate over hockey — and got his black belt at 14. Their fa­ther, a UFC fan, then put them into Brazil­ian Jiu-Jitsu at the Win­nipeg Academy of Mixed Mar­tial Arts. He con­tin­ued his MMA stud­ies dur­ing high school and his time as the Univer­sity of Man­i­toba, hit­ting the books while punch­ing op­po­nents. His first pro fight was Oc­to­ber 2014.

“I def­i­nitely feel like sport helped me at school as well as get­ting that en­gi­neer­ing de­gree helped me in sport,” said Ka­tona. “An en­gi­neer knows how to solve prob­lems and that’s what ev­ery day in the train­ing room is.”

“The sad part is you’re never quite sat­is­fied,” he added. “But I’d rather be push­ing the bar­rier on ev­ery­thing than sit­ting back com­pletely 100 per cent sat­is­fied.”

After com­plet­ing his de­gree in May 2016, he said the time was right to fo­cus full-time on fight­ing. “I was reach­ing a point in my dream ca­reer of be­ing a pro­fes­sional ath­lete that it didn’t make sense to hold off. If I didn’t make that at­tempt, it would be some­thing I would re­gret for a long time.”

Ka­tona said he and his girl­friend Katie Saull, a fel­low fighter, soon knew it was time to make a move and “step things up.” “Other­wise the game will pass you on. I wanted to be ahead of that curve and be train­ing with (the) best team that I can be.”

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