KB Bhullar staying the course at Unified MMA 40 following painful UFC release

KB Bhullar
KB Bhullar in the cage at Unified MMA 36. (Photo by Joel Griffith)

KB Bhullar is back in the Unified MMA cage.

Edmonton, Alta.’s Bhullar (8-2) will compete for the first time since his two-fight tenure with the UFC and will take on Calgary, Alta.’s Anton Tokarchuk (4-4-1) in a light heavyweight bout at Unified MMA 40 on Saturday night in Edmonton.

Following his release from the UFC, Bhullar, 29, said he felt a variety of emotions, including surprised and frustrated, but is motivated to work his way back to the sport’s top promotion.

“It’s a cocktail of feelings. That’s (UFC) where I want to be fighting. It’s not just that, but it’s the financial perspective too of going back to the regional scene. It’s like a kick to the gut fighting this week,” said Bhullar in an interview with MMA Empire.

“But I have to keep the path. This is what I do. I’m not just going to stay down, I’m going to keep going. I know I can keep active, keep winning, keep learning, keep growing as a fighter and martial artist, and I’ll be back where I need to be. I just need to stay the path and not get discouraged.”

Bhullar’s last fight in the UFC was a unanimous decision loss to Andreas Michailidis back in May.

He said he had plenty of opportunities throughout the 15 minutes to build his significant strike count and finish the fight, but simply didn’t capitalize on the openings.

“Once I created opportunities to strike, I needed to go in and just start piecing basic combinations together and just hitting him,” said Bhullar.

“The opportunities were there, I just wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing, and that was the biggest piss off for me coming out of that fight because going back to the stool between rounds not tired and I just wasn’t executing. That was a big frustration on myself. I was creating opportunities with the small shots, but wasn’t taking advantage of them by piecing it together and landing something significant. I needed to up the aggression in that fight and I didn’t do that.”

Normally a profound finisher, Bhullar said his reluctancy to pull the trigger against Michailidis may have stemmed from suffering his first TKO loss of his career one fight prior to Tom Breese.

“If I remove myself from the situation and just watch it at a bird’s-eye view, I look at it and think maybe that’s why,” said Bhullar.

“In the end, I have to learn from it, move forward and adapt. After that fight, I just wanted to get back in as soon as possible and make those adjustments because I was completely healthy. I just needed to get this bad taste out of my mouth and stay active.”

Bhullar’s road back to the UFC begins with a tough test in Tokarchuk, who enters action on a three-fight losing skid.

Bhullar said he knows the importance of a win over Tokarchuk and said he will be looking to get back to his finishing ways.

“I don’t know how it’s going to play out, but I know I’m going in there to finish him. I won’t make a prediction, but that’s my goal every single time I fight,” sad Bhullar.

“I need to get this f**king win.”

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