Bojan Kladnjakovic wins in Kandahar: A letter from Afghanistan

Kombat Arts athlete Bojan Kladnjakovic wins in Kandahar, Afghanistan

Kombat athlete Bojan Kladnjakovic recently won his MMA bout in Kandahar, Afghanistan, fighting for Wreck MMA against a very quick opponent. In his letter below, Bojan recounts his fight and reflects on his experience in Afghanistan’s second largest city, meeting the troops, and more. Be sure to watch the fight video posted at the end, and check the Facebook group to see all of his photos!

Dear Kru,

I’m really sorry for taking so long to post this; been catching up on school work and trying to get my story in the Brampton Guardian and catching up on late essays and assignments.

The Game Plan worked almost too well. I was untouched, I picked my shots, dragged him past the first round, and did lots of damage to the body with knees in the clinch — although I think an early right head kick rattled his game plan a little. Even though I felt the takedown was there several times in the clinch, I smartly did not go for it until the closing of the round. I ensured I would end up in side control to do some damage landing some hard hammer fists as I let him scramble underneath me — it worked out great as my opponent had to go up and down, making him work, and by the second round he was substantially slower and much more frustrated, especially when he tried a spinning back fist out of desperation like two meters away from me.

Kombat's Bojan Kladnjakovic in Afghanistan

He was faster than me, in and out, I assume from his karate background, however I felt I had better footwork and basically stalked him the whole fight using my jab to frustrate him, threatening with my overhand (which never landed clean) and timing two nice flying knees to the midsection. I wish I had used more of the three-punch combos me and Dave worked on, as most of the damage was done in the clinch (which Dave worked on a lot with me too and Alin claimed would be the most effective).

The finish was like a gift; he caught a high knee and I swung into the triangle position before he even slammed me. A few adjustments here and there and I got a clean finish. I did my best to carry myself with class and show lots of respect to my opponent.

Some info on my opponent, who was a nice guy and a class act, I had no animosity towards him what so ever: Mike Reilly, out of Ottawa from a traditional martial arts school called Bluewater Martal Arts. He has a karate and Japanese jiu-jitsu backround, his style was kickboxing and jiu-jitsu. He was also a huge Bruce Lee fan, coming out with his T-shirt and the traditional Chinese martial arts Gi/Kimono. He also has decent dirty boxing. He was 2-0 before facing me, beating my friend Paul Ebejer by throat punch in the first and then getting a lightning quick armbar on Robin Black this January.

Kombat's Bojan Kladnjakovic in Afghanistan

The victory after was surreal, standing in a ring in the middle of a war zone in front of 4,000 cheering coalition troops, watching F-18 Jets and Black Hawk Helicopters take off overhead.

Thank you so much for all the help Joey, not just for this camp but for Kombat Arts in general, giving me a home to ply my trade and grow as a fighter; your advice and guidance was crucial in this win. Thank you for everything, Sifu.

I still got a pair of bad ass shades for you and of course your headphones; that jet lag article was genius. I felt rested, hydrated, and ready to go upon arrival.

Kandahar was a experience and a half. The trip was really a mission,  leaving with the Canadian Forces Ottawa Airport on March 5th and returning March 11th. All the fighters and the promotion WreckMMA dedicated their time to entertain the troops and show them our support and that “CANADA CARES!” (Chief of Defense Staff General Natynczyk). We flew in Air Bus One, the Prime Minister’s Plane who was actually getting off as we got on.

Kombat's Bojan Kladnjakovic in Kandahar

We had a concert 30,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean on the plane with a rock cover band, and a rap performance with comedian/actor Tom Green (who ended up bunking in the room next to mine).

Upon arrival we spent the whole time doing tours of the base and meeting Canadian soldiers from Battle Groups, Bomb Squads, Special Forces, Civilian Engineers, Pilots, Generals, and so much more. I got to fire off some M16 & M4′s (blanks), played with a lot more guns, drove a tank (like 10 feet), controlled an Unmanned Air Vehicle camera (remote control plane), saw F-18 Fighter Jets take off, even got a ride home with two NHL Maple Leafs alumni.

Once again sorry for slacking on getting this up, can’t wait to see you at Kombat.

Your student,
Bojan Kladnjakovic

Congrats to Bojan on his well-deserved win! He represented Kombat Arts with skill and class. Watch the full fight video:

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