This is both familiar and unfamiliar territory for Pat Pytlik.
Waterloo’s Pytlik (7-0) will compete in the main event slot for the first time in his MMA career when he defends his Unified MMA super lightweight title against Kansas’ Jake Lindsey (13-8) at Unified MMA 36 Friday night in Enoch, Alta.
Although Pytlik, 29, headlined his share of events in his kickboxing career, this will be his first time headlining an MMA event, a position he feels he belongs.
“When I first started MMA, I was coaching a lot of the guys while also fighting on the same card. I would fight, then go backstage and warm the other guys up,” said Pytlik in an interview.
“Now that I’m the main event, I feel like I am where I’m supposed to be.”
Pytlik comes into this fight with an unblemished record, all wins by knockout or TKO, and knocking on the doorstep of the UFC.
While a win over a UFC-vet like Lindsey could be what he needs to punch his ticket to the UFC, Pytlik said he’s not thinking that far ahead.
“The attitude I have is every fight is the biggest fight of my life,” said Pytlik.
“That’s as far down the line as I look at it.”
Prior to defeating Vyron Phillips in the fifth round at Unified MMA 34 to win the strap, Pytlik hadn’t seen the second round since his second fight.
Pytlik said he was happy to be able to show he has what it takes to go the distance if needed, while also having the ability to secure the finish when it matters most.
“I’ve always been known for my cardio in the gym, so it was very nice to be able to showcase that,” said Pytlik.
“But how you are in the gym isn’t always how you are in a fight, so I was very happy with myself that I was able to reach the fifth round.”
Preparation Is Key
With 21 fights, including three in the UFC, Lindsey, 32, stands to be Pytlik’s toughest and most experienced opponent to date. And he’s done his homework.
Lindsey said he fully expects Pytlik to want to keep the fight standing, but also said he sees some holes he may be able to expose.
“One thing I like about Pat is he isn’t scared to clinch and wrestle. His upper body clinch is great and he’s not scared to engage in that,” said Lindsey in an interview.
“But I think over time the way I grapple and the way I fight is going to wear him out. If he thinks he’s going to be able to roll with me on the feet, he might catch a f***ing heater.”
Lindsey enters this bout coming off a first round submission victory over Dawond Pickney at EFC 10, but dropped four of five contests before that to tough opponents such as David Michaud, Jason Witt and Chance Rencountre. Lindsey said the majority of those losses were fights he took on short notice.
Lindsey said he’s excited to step in the cage coming off a full training camp and a sufficient amount of time to prepare.
“I know what I’m capable of and I know what I can do when I’m in shape and focused,” said Lindsey.
“I could be just as confident coming off a loss right now as I am coming off a win. I’ve been in the sport long enough to know that it’s all about the performance.”
This will be the first title Lindsey has fought for since winning the Victory Fighting Championship lightweight belt back in 2013.
He said it feels good to be back in this position, and to be in this position for a promotion like Unified MMA.
“For promotions like Unified MMA or VFC, those are good belts to win because they’re good shows and high-quality guys, so the championship actually means something,” said Lindsey.
“The belt’s definitely going to mean a lot. I’ll definitely be wearing that belt out to the bars after the fight.”
“I just want to thank all my sponsors that have supported me so far, Allan Gamble, Jeff Montemurro, Keijiro Noda, Luke Harris, Mike Diggins, Chris Greig, and Stevie Bailey.”
“I want to thank all my coaches and training partners, the mother of my kids, my close business associates Melissa McMillin and David Rickels, and a big thank you to Canada’s own Jordan Peterson.”