It's been a year and three months since Raul Catinas last stepped in the ring. The stocky 5'11" Romanian fighter, along with Daniel Ghita, is one of two Romanian fighters to ever make the K-1 World Grand Prix Final 16. He lost to Mighty Mo in a slugfest at the Final 16 in 2010 and most were expecting to see him in K-1 again, where he'd also fought in official regional qualifiers.
Catinas fought once more in 2010, beating Imani Lee at Local Kombat (Now SuperKombat) in November of that year. He hasn't fought since then though, claiming injuries have held him back from returning to the sport.
Catinas will face French-based Turkish fighter, Yuksel Ayadin, at SuperKombat's first event of the year on this Saturday, February 25 in Podgorica, Montenegro. For this fight, he's done his training at the famed Mike's Gym with trainer Mike Passenier, Badr Hari, Melvin Manhoef, and the list goes on. He says he feels stronger than ever, having trained at Mike's Gym for six weeks. He referred to Mike's Gym as "barbarian training" and compared it to the movie Spartacus, saying that it's the gladiators' room.
Catinas is only 23 years old and if he keeps training at Mike's Gym, there's some potential for him. Over a year off may seem like a long time but he's got age on his side. In the heavyweight division, fighters often have longer careers. Ayadin is a tough test, especially after such a long layoff and both are pretty exciting fighters so it should be pretty fun. I think we can expect to see more of Catinas under the SuperKombat banner this year. [source]