Canadian Brad Katona uses ground skills to earn decision win on UFC fight card

Canadian bantamweight Brad (Superman) Katona, using his ground game to smother his opponent, won a unanimous decision over American Jesse Butler on the undercard of a UFC Fight Night card on Saturday.

The judges scored it 30-26, 30-27, 30-27 for Katona (16-3-0), who improved to 4-3-0 in the UFC.

The main event at the KFC Yum! Center pitted American Jared (The Killa Gorilla) Cannonier, ranked fourth among middleweight contenders, against No. 7 Nassourdine Imavov of France.

The five-foot-six Katona was giving up four inches in height and 8 1/2 in reach to Butler, who fought as a lightweight in his only other UFC bout. Butler, who took that fight on two days notice, lasted just 23 seconds against veteran Jim Miller before he was knocked out.

Butler (12-6-0) weighted in at 154.5 pounds for the Miller fight in June 2023 and 136 for the Katona bout.

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Katona, a heavy favourite, caught a Butler kick early in the first round and then dropped him with a right to the head as he held on to the leg. Most of the round was spent on the ground but Katona, while in control, was unable to do much damage.

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Butler caught Katona with a right to the head early in the second round but ended on the ground again when Katona intercepted a knee. An elbow cut Butler in the middle of the forehead as Katona, again in control, broke through his defence with strikes.

Needing a stoppage to win, Butler came out swinging in the third and managed to keep the round mostly on the feet. But Katona was equal to the task, connecting with several swinging rights.

Butler, ignoring his corner’s instructions, attempted a kick and slipped with 90 seconds remaining, allowing Katona to get on top of him again.

The 32-year-old from Winnipeg, who is now based out of Dublin, lost a unanimous (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) decision to American Garret Armfield in a close fight in Toronto last time out in the featured preliminary bout on the UFC 297 undercard.

Katona, who has a degree in mechanical engineering, is in his second go-round with the UFC after winning “The Ultimate Fighter” for a second time.

The Canadian won Season 27 of the reality TV show in July 2018 as a featherweight and Season 31 last August as a bantamweight. Katona won four straight in the Bahrain-based Brave Combat Federation between UFC stints.

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Butler had won five straight in smaller promotions before entering the UFC.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2024.

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