MM-Eh! News and Notes from Canada

News and Notes

By Andy Cotterill Mar 11, 2008
If Kultar Gill (Pictures) could use only one adjective to describe his life right now, it would be "awesome."

The 29-year-old Canadian, also known as "Black Mamba," will make the 10-hour flight Tuesday from Vancouver to Japan, where he'll fight Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pictures) in the opening round of the Dream lightweight grand prix this Saturday at the Saitama Super Arena.

The bout will be Gill's first since he defeated Hideo Tokoro (Pictures) in the opening round of the K-1 Hero's middleweight tournament eight months ago. While preparing for his second round pairing against Caol Uno (Pictures), Gill woke one morning with no strength in his left arm.

He thought his career might be over.

"I came out of the tournament last year and I blew a disc in my neck," he told "I thought I was done training and fighting and stuff like that."

A bone-fusion surgery soon followed that also put a plate in his neck. Now Gill said he's feeling awesome.

"It's been six months since my operation," he said, "and I've been using an East Indian remedy that's really been helping me out."

In Kawajiri (20-4-2), Gill faces a versatile opponent who has won half of his fights with strikes.

"He likes to stand, which is awesome," Gill gushed. "I never have anybody stand up with me, so hopefully I can knock him out with kicks to the head. He likes to wrestle, he's known for that, and he has wicked grappling, so we'll see what happens."

Gill said he considered the fight the opportunity of a lifetime when he was approached with the offer several weeks ago.

"Everybody is tough at this level," he said. "I just don't care. What's he going to do to me, knock me out? Already been done in the gym. Submit me? Already done that. Hurt me? I don't think he'll do anything to me that hasn't already been done."

Although he is confident in his chances, Gill realizes that not everyone feels the same.

"A lot of people think I'm a super-underdog and don't belong there, but I've always had great striking," Gill said. "And now with Bibiano's help, my game has gotten a lot better."

Bibiano Fernandes (Pictures) is his jiu-jitsu coach and teammate on the Revolution Fight Team. Gill lauds the Brazilian for bringing his ground skills up to a new level.

"He gave me my purple belt just a little while ago," Gill said proudly. "My jiu-jitsu has been improving and has gone up from being nonexistent, and that increases my striking capabilities because I'm not as worried about going to the ground."

Gill is also very appreciative of the treatment he has continued to receive from K-1.

"My K-1 contract, I can fight wherever I want as long as it's not interfering with my fight in K-1, so it's very nice of them to let me do that," he said. "I really appreciate them putting me up with high-caliber fighters. I think this is one of the hardest lightweight tournaments ever with so many top-ranked world champions. I'm actually humbled by being in with the best 16 fighters in the world.

"I'm a fan of the sport," he continued, "and am just so excited to be out in front of 40-50,000 people and representing India, representing Canada and representing Revolution Fight Team. It's going to be awesome."

Pele is ‘Nuts'

Such is the belief of Gill, who gave a quick update on Revolution Fight Team member Jose Landi-Jons (Pictures). The Brazilian suffered an abhorrent lower leg injury two weeks ago at TKO 32 that saw both his tibia and fibula break clean through his skin.

"Pele is nuts, man!" Gill said with an incredulous laugh. "He broke his leg on Thursday, had surgery, came back in the gym on Monday and he was walking no crutches or nothing. So four days later he was running around, talking Brazilian and yelling at everybody -- he's crazy man."

Then Gill said something truly scary about the man who is widely regarded as having some of the hardest leg kicks in MMA: "Before he used to beat the crap out of us, and now he's got metal in his leg like a baseball bat to beat us up with, so I'm not looking forward to that."
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