This is the main event for a reason.
Coquitlam’s Dejan Kajic (12-7-2, 1 NC) will look to defend his BFL 175-pound title for the second time when faces off with Gatineau’s fast-rising prospect Julien Leblanc (5-1) at BFL 65 on Saturday night.
Kajic, 35, is coming off his first successful title defence at BFL 63, a first round knockout victory in highlight reel fashion over Ricardo Centeno.
While he did successfully defend the gold for the first time, Kajic said his biggest takeaway from that fight was simply the confirmation he’s ready for the next level.
“It just reassured me I belong at the bigger events, and that I have some of the cleanest striking when it comes to intelligence, analyzing information, and setting up traps,” said Kajic in an interview with MMA Empire.
“It’s just reassuring me I’m surrounding myself with the right people, doing the right things, and hopefully the dice roll in my favour soon.”
For Leblanc, 28, Kajic represents the toughest challenge of his young career.
Knowing Kajic is on the radar of some of the sport’s biggest promotions, Leblanc said a win over an opponent like Kajic can create plenty of opportunities in the near future.
“It would put me back near the top of the rankings for sure. Right now, I’m taking it one fight at a time because I don’t want to look past this tough task ahead,” said Leblanc in an interview with MMA Empire.
“A win over this guy will open doors for sure. I’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. That’s the way I see it.”
Time is Now For Kajic
Entering Saturday’s main event riding a four-fight win streak, Kajic is one of the hottest welterweights in Canada at the moment.
His recent run has caught the eye of multiple bigger promotions, including the UFC.
And whether a win over Leblanc is enough to lock down a contract with one of those bigger shows, Kajic said there’s a strong possibility this will be his last fight regionally.
“I know where a win should put me; it should put me in the UFC, Bellator or ONE FC. But I’ve always said the best guy doesn’t always win and you don’t always get what you deserve,” said Kajic.
“Realistically, if I don’t get signed, this will probably be my last fight locally. I don’t know what else I’d need to do. I’d be on a five-fight win streak, and my last few fights are not only finishes, they’re highlight reels.”
With three of Kajic’s last four fights being quick first round finishes, it’s been awhile since he experienced a long, gruelling fight.
Kajic said with every fight that goes by without being one of those five-round or three-rounds wars, the chances of the next one being the war just increases. And that’s exactly what he’s prepared for with Leblanc.
“One thing that always kind of makes me nervous is every time you fight and it’s a short fight, the probability of it happening again gets lower and lower,” said Kajic.
“Every fight I go in now, I prepare even more thinking this is the one that’s going to be the hard one. I’ve been doing lots of conditioning and training for this one, and I’m prepared for the deep waters.”
Clean Slate For Leblanc
It was a rough and frustrating 2019 for Leblanc, having three fights fall to the wayside, which left him without a fight for the calendar year.
He said he’s hoping to kick off 2020 on a high note, and hopes to remain as active as possible to make up for last year.
“Last year was really frustrating, but this is a new year. I have a chance to start my year the right way,” said Leblanc.
“Everything that happened made me who I am today. Everything happens for a reason.”
Leblanc’s last time in the cage was a unanimous decision loss to Damien Lapilus at TKO 44 back in Sept. 2018, his first defeat as a professional or amateur.
Heading into that fight, Leblanc said he was in too many places at once and trying to help out fellow fighters with their training camps, while also focusing on his own.
Going forward, Leblanc said that loss taught him to focus 100 per cent on himself during training camp.
“I really learned that in this sport you have to be selfish,” said Leblanc.
“You need to think about yourself and you need to take the rest when you need it. This time, I did it right.”
“I’d like to thank my coaches Patrick and Martin, all my sponsors, everyone that’s supported me, my family, and everyone who’s been with me through the good and bad.” Follow Leblanc on social media: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM