ACA Light heavyweight Luke Barnatt returns to the cage at ACA 96 on June 8th in Poland. Luke will rematch Karol Celinski after he lost by a decision almost exactly a year ago. In an interview with the ACA, Luke spoke about his desire to avenge the loss and his thoughts on Karol Celinski amongst many other things.
Luke you posted a comment that all what Karol said on the press-conference was a bullshit. What does it mean? What do you think about Karol? Do you think that personal hostility will help you to prepare better for the fight against him?
It means I wasn’t invited to or even told about a press conference by ACA, so without physically being there to share my point of view or reply to Karol’s comments it is ballshit and a weak move. When I fought Mamed Khalidov in Manchester I was flown out to Poland so we could meet face to face, not meet with press behind each other’s backs, Mamed, Karol and their whole team know the sort of man I am, I’m someone who shows up and competes and always brings my best, press conferences and ballshit doesn’t affect me, I was just vocalizing that it’s a weak move to not have me there.
Your previous fight against Karol was in June 2018. You were really upset with the decision. How do you think what caused such a decision?
The decision was wrong, Karol knows it, his coaches know it and his team mates know it, this is why this fight is happening again so quickly, every time ACA talk to me about fighting they only hear two words from me. “Karol Celinski”
You both entering this bout after a KO\TKO loss at the same event – ACA 92. Does it make any problems for you and do you think that Karol might be not as confident as earlier?
This is the fight game, Karol had an extremely tough fight against the champ and was knocked out badly, in my fight I controlled the entire fight and got caught with one shot and unfortunately at this level that’s all it takes. I think myself and Karol are absolute pros and have mountains of experience and don’t think it’ll effect either of us, I know for me my last fight was a big upset and a fight I was in control of and should have won, but the development and growth in my game from that experience is so valuable. I’m coming into this next fight with the excitement of applying the lessons I’ve learnt over the last year and getting the job done.
Have you seen his title fight at ACA 92? What can you say about his performance?
Of course I watched it, I was impressed with the gameplan and tactics going into the fight there was a noticeable difference in Celinski’s base and approach, I think Celinski’s camp are extremely intelligent and plan very well for fights, I felt like he was doing everything right apart from he didn’t do enough of it, the champ is an explosive dangerous athlete and you have to pressure him constantly to ware down his Gas tank otherwise the inevitable will happen, he will explode into strikes or a takedown.. so I think it was a fight that Celinski could have won if he raised the tempo a little and stayed in the champions face, which is easier said than done, I was impressed with the game plan but not extremely impressed with the execution.
Tell us how are you planning to surprise Karol Celinski?
There’s no surprises, I’ve already beaten him once, I’m a tough mother fucker I’m going to meet him in the middle of the cage and knock his head clean off his shoulders, I’ve felt his power and know exactly what to expect, he’s not going to change, I’m not going to change it was a FOTN performance last time and this time the only difference is I’ll be much bigger more athletic and powerful version of myself, I see myself knocking Celinski out within the first two rounds... if we make it to the judges I just pray the polish judges understand MMA better than the ones who made a mistake last year.
On a side note, I would like to thank Ibrahim and ACA for rematching this fight, I truly have been begging for it, thank you to Celinski and his team for accepting a rematch because he could have easily avoided it, it shows the sort of man he is, he knows he lost in Australia and he needs to prove it to himself that he can beat me, that’s a true competitor and not someone who is there to make up the numbers, I realize that I was a bit of a bitch following the decision in Australia I had a lot of struggles going into the fight and when I managed to pull it all together and put on a performance that was deserving of a victory and having it taken away from me, it affected me greatly, I understand that it is not Karol’s fault that they made a mistake, I am looking forward to this fight and putting it all behind us, in Australia it was a close match I think we both agree that I deserved to win the bout, but now it’s time to really prove who is the better man, and that is what MMA is all about, not the ballshit that now surrounds it.
Two men from different backgrounds, different teams and different nations putting it all on the line to see who is better. who has worked harder and who’s commitment and sacrifices has elevated themselves to the level to call themselves the winner. no matter what else is happening in our lives, we have put them to one side and fully focused our efforts and energy on this and when I knock out Celinski in Poland I think it’ll be my greatest MMA achievement to date. Overcoming adversity, controlling my environment and finally getting the redemption I’ve been craving.