Pablo Garza on UFC on FUEL TV 9 Opponent Diego Brandao: “He Definitely Shows Up To Fight And I Do The Same Thing”
By Kelsey Mowatt
Some fighters aren’t exactly thrilled when they get tapped to compete at UFC cards overseas, and several veterans haven’t been shy about expressing their preference to fight here in North America. It has nothing to do with experiencing a new country, but rather, the challenges it presents fighters in terms of traveling there, jet lag and even locating the right type of food. After all, when you have someone trying to knock you unconscious, you want to be at your best.
Other fighters, however, welcome the opportunity to visit and fight in other nations, and deal with the logistics of doing so as best as they can. Take for example Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza, who couldn’t be happier about fighting in Stockholm, Sweden this Saturday.
“I got moved up to the Sweden card and it was something I really wanted; I’m glad I got it,” said Garza, who will fight Diego Brandao at UFC on FUEL TV 9. “My wife is born and raised in Norway and her family is all from Norway so that’s just a stones throw away from Sweden. Her family is going to be there, so it’s going to be a nice little vacation for us as well as my fight.”
Knowing that he will be fighting at a drastically different time than usual, as the event begins here in North America at 2:00 PM PST, Garza has already begun preparing for the time difference.
“I’m heading out a couple days early and I also kind of changed my sleeping habits,” noted the 29 year-old featherweight who lives in Fargo, North Dakota. “I’ve been up since 3:30, 4:00 AM today because they’re seven hours ahead of us. I’m trying to get used to that right now.”
“I’m excited to go over there,” Garza furthered. “I’ve never fought overseas before so, it’s just a whole new experience that I look forward to doing.”
Garza will head to Sweden for what is also a big fight, as the WEC vet will battle former TUF 14 winner Diego Brandao. Since submitting Dennis Bermudez to win the TUF competition in December, 2011, Brandao has lost by unanimous decision to Darren Elkins, before rebounding last October with a UD victory over Joey Gambino.
“He’s got a big name but most of all he’s a tough dude,” Garza said about Brandao. “His fights on “The Ultimate Fighter” were pretty clean and pretty good wins…He definitely shows up to fight and I do the same same thing, I show up to fight, so I think it’s going to be a very exciting fight to watch.”
While on paper the extensive reach advantage that the 6’1 tall Garza will have over the 5’7 Brandao immediately stands out on paper, the former isn’t about to hang his entire gameplan on it.
“I was always try to utilize my reach, but it’s MMA, it’s not a boxing match, so reach does not extend as far as people think it does,” noted Garza. “In boxing you don’t have to worry about someone taking you down or bull rushing and clinching you up…There will be other skills in my game that I’m also going to be using rather than just my reach.”
Case in point is Garza’s unanimous decision win over Mark Hominick last November, where although he had a reach advantage over the now retired vet, it was “The Scarecrow’s” takedowns and top game that won him the bout.
“My Hominick fight was definitely a fight where I wanted to prove that I had a ground game as well,” said Garza. “I think I proved it in that fight, so I think this gives my opponents something else to worry about when they fight me.”
The impressive win over Hominick was crucial for Garza, due to the fact that he was coming off back-to-back losses to Dennis Bermudez and Dustin Poirier heading into the bout.
“I felt like it was a must win,” Garza stated. “And with it being that the UFC was cutting a bunch of other guys that are really good, that all added up to me with me feeling like my back was up against the ropes and that I had to get a victory no matter what.”
You can hear the entire interview with Garza on the latest edition of Full Contact Fighter Radio.