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'It means everything': Waterloo Region MMA fighter preparing for title match

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Watching him in action, you wouldn’t know mixed martial arts (MMA) isn’t Patrick Pytlik’s day job.

“I’m a process pipe welder and I travel around fixing plants and pipes and stuff,” he explains.

But the 34-year-old Waterloo native’s happy place is in the ring at TKO Fighting Arts in Kitchener.

Pytlik is a life-long combat athlete, competing in boxing, Muay Thai, kickboxing and now professional MMA.

“Honestly it was an accident. I couldn’t find a good Muay Thai gym, so I found an MMA gym,” he says. “I showed up for a sparing day, they watched me spar. Three months later, I had my first professional MMA fight.”

Pytlik’s longtime friend and training partner, Drew Ruttle, says what he’s accomplished is no small feat.

“You have to be all in,” Ruttle says. “You can’t do it as a part-time job, you have to be fully dedicated, fully committed. A lot of credit to Pat, it’s not an easy thing to do and he’s done it pretty well.”

Patrick Pytlik trains at TKO Fighting Arts in Kitchener on Oct. 21, 2023. (Tyler Kelaher/CTV Kitchener)

Now the former welterweight champion is preparing for one of the biggest fights of his career, a title match with current champ, Fay Bursell. The winner will claim the Unified MMA Canadian Super Welterweight Crown.

It’ll be the third title fight of Pytlik’s career.

“It means everything,” Pytlik says. “I’m just grateful I can still compete. I’m a little bit older, I’ve had a few injuries, well I’ve had a lot of injuries actually.”

The title fight was set to headline Unified 53 in Ottawa next week but has been postponed.

Pytlik’s opponent, Bursell, was scratched from the event due to injury.

“The last thing you want like two weeks before the fight is a call from the promoter, because you know it’s bad news. Unfortunately that’s the call I got,” he says.

Pytlik isn’t sure when the fight will happen, but he’s embracing the challenge, saying he has a lot of fight still in him at this stage of his career.

“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, I’m just grateful for every fight that I can still compete.”

His friend has no doubt he’ll be ready when the time comes.

“He’s one of those guys, when the bright lights are on, he turns it up,” Ruttle says. “He shows up every time, so I have no doubt it my mind.”

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