Kyle Prepolec begins journey back to the big stage at Samourai MMA 1 following unique UFC release

Kyle Prepolec
Credit: BTC Fight Promotions

Kyle Prepolec had a taste of competing on MMA’s biggest stage and is now hungrier than ever to return there.

Windsor, Ont.’s Prepolec (14-7) returns to the cage for the first time since his UFC departure to take on rising lightweight prospect Michael Dufort (8-3) in the Samourai MMA 1 main event on Friday night.

After accepting a short notice UFC debut against Nordine Taleb back in May 2019, Prepolec, 32, proceeded to go 0-2 in the promotion, also dropping a unanimous decision to Austin Hubbard a few months later. Prepolec would go on to be released by the UFC following the Hubbard fight due to his diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by muscle breakdown.

“The whole rhabdo thing is still a rare thing for athletes to get. They just didn’t want a liability to happen where something bad happens due to someone’s health that can be prevented. They just didn’t want me to be a liability,” said Prepolec in an interview with MMA Empire.

“We were expecting a third fight, but things happen and I totally understand. It makes sense because what if it happened again or what if there was a worse outcome?”

In the weeks following his release, Prepolec said he was grateful and amazed with the support he received from the UFC in regards to helping him get the treatment he needed to recover from his condition.

“I was just very grateful, even after the fight, they gave me a year insurance to cross into the States and help figure this thing out, why it’s happening, all the possibilities. I got the biopsy done in Canada, which helped get us the results we wanted,” said Prepolec.

“I was a complete nobody in the UFC and they were like we’re going to help you get through, send you to the States and everything will be covered. I was like ‘wow, I’m a nobody and you’re doing all this? This is great’.”

Now over two years since his last MMA fight, Prepolec is looking to work his way back to the sport’s ultimate proving ground in the UFC.

Prepolec believes a win over a talented and up-and-coming prospect like Dufort would be a good first step in achieving his goal.

“That’s the main goal; to have a career, make a living, and obviously retire there (UFC). That’s the dream, to become one of the best and be at the top,” said Prepolec.

“It’s one fight at a time and I believe fighting a guy like Michael Dufort with his skillset, recognition, talent and good record he has and beating a guy like this who’s on the rise and being looked at will keep an eye open or even get that call back.”

Throughout his career so far, Prepolec has proven to be a consistent threat on the feet with seven of his 14 wins coming via knockout or TKO.

Leading into this bout, Prepolec said he’s been putting an extra emphasis on his ground game in preparation for the dangers Dufort poses in that department.

“I know he’s tough, but everybody’s tough in this game. He’s really good at what he’s good at,” said Prepolec.

“He’s really good at getting those guillotines and trying to snatch necks, which is fine, it’s nothing new, just don’t play into his game. And he’s going to do the same to me and not try to play into my game and strengths. It’s a battle of the elites and who’s going to make it to the top.”

Prepolec’s Shoutouts

“Liuna, IBEW, Elite Training Systems, Maximum Training Centre, Penalty Box Restaurant, all training partners and coaches, House of Champions, Aegis MMA, all other gyms that helped me out, Border City Boxing Club, Tecumseh Jiu-Jitsu, HTA Windsor, HQ Nutrition, my friends and family, and my girlfriend.” Follow Prepolec on social media: FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM