If history is any indication, the upcoming Unified MMA welterweight title fight will not disappoint.
In a matchup where he and Phillips are both highly-skilled in multiple facets of MMA, Pytlik, 29, said truly anything can happen.
“We both are good standup guys, we both have decent grappling, and we both like to stand and trade,” said Pytlik in an interview.
“That’s my favourite thing about fighting; the unknown.”
What is known is Pytlik’s impressive history of finishing fights early with his elite striking, with all six of his professional victories coming by knockout or TKO.
But despite his knack for the knockout blow, Pytlik said he knows how tough and durable Phillips is, and is expecting a lengthy battle on Friday night.
“I’m expecting a war. I’m expecting a tough, long fight, and I’ve been preparing for that,” said Pytlik.
“I would be shocked if it only lasted one round.”
This will be Pytlik’s first shot at a title in his young career, and said not only does he want this for himself, but he wants it for those that helped him get to this point.
While he currently lives and trains primarily out of Waterloo, Ont., Edmonton was where Pytlik said he was moulded into a true MMA fighter.
He said to be able to win a title in the city where it all started for him would be pretty special.
“I came here is a standup guy, and now I’m a pretty well-round MMA fighter,” said Pytlik.
“I’d like to win this, not just for me, but for all my coaches and all the people that have invested their time in me to develop a champion.”
Long Road for Phillips
Identical to Pytlik, this will be Phillips’ first look at a title in his career, and it would mean just as much to him as to his opponent.
Phillips, 36, said with all he’s had to overcome in his career, winning the belt would be a true testament to overcoming adversity.
“After everything I’ve been through in my career, the ups and downs, that belt would mean so much to me,” said Phillips in an interview.
“I know it’s not a UFC belt, but after all the sacrifices, all the bumps and bruises, all the injuries, and everything else I’ve been through, it shows I can go through all that and still come back and be the champ.”
Despite he and Pytlik’s history of highlight-reel striking, Phillips, fighting out of Milwaukee, Wis., said he doesn’t envision a brawl taking place.
Phillips said he believes Pytlik and his team are too smart to want to engage in a brawl, and instead is expecting a strategic, technical striking matchup.
“I think it’s going to be a good, technical fight and will be determined by inches and timing,” said Phillips.
“I don’t see him coming into this one with a balls-to-the-wall pace. He’ll be coming in smart, with a good game plan, and more technical than a brawl.”
With Pytlik being a highly-touted prospect and him coming off a decision victory and a draw, Phillips said neither of them want to let this fight go to a decision.
Phillips said he and Pytlik both have their sights set on big things in the future, and a finish for either of them will be a big leap forward.
“We both need a finish. We both can’t afford to go the distance,” said Phillips.
“If we do go the distance, he’s prepared and I’m prepared. But we both don’t want to go the distance.”
“I’d like to thank Kru Chris Greig out of TKO Fighting Arts, Mike Diggins at the Guardhouse Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Luke Harrris out of Hayabusa Training Centre, Jeff Montemurro out of Shaved Bears, Keijiro Noda at Frank Lee’s, Stevie Bailey out of TNT Boxing, and all of my sponsors.”
“I want to thank my team in Sault Sainte Marie, Ont. I want to thank Duke Roufus and Roufusport for accepting me and really doing a good job of helping me with my skills. I want to thank Giuseppe DeNatale from Canadian Fighting Centre for always having my back as my first coach. I want to thank my fans, family and everybody else that supports me. I want to thank Pat and his team for taking the fight and Unified MMA for giving me the opportunity.”