Brazilian lightweight Diego Brandao made quite the impression in his first post-UFC contest. Now he hopes to follow that up with another big win.
“I’m excited,” Brandao said. “The fight coming up is hard. It’s going to be a battle. I know Vener Galiev is a very talented fighter. I respect him outside, but inside the cage is my house.”
Brandao (21-11) and Galiev (28-9) meet in the headlining contest of Thursday’s Fight Nights Global 67 event, which takes place Yekaterinburg Sports Palace in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The card will be available as video on demand on UFC Fight Pass shortly after the completion of the event.
For Brandao, the January submission win over Murad Machaev at Fight Nights Global 58 was impressive. Brandao, 29, proclaimed new focus ahead of the matchup – his first following a 10-fight stint in the UFC – and he finished it in spectacular fashion, with a helicopter armbar submission that went viral.
“I was expecting to knock him out,” Brandao said. “He took me down 100 times in the first round, so I decided to do jiu-jitsu, my plan B.
“I’ve done that armbar since I was a kid, since I was 14. I love this position.”
On Thursday, Brandao hopes for another impressive victory in hopes of securing a title shot in the Russian-based promotion. Galiev is a veteran of the sport, competing professionally since 2004 and boasting past tussles with the likes of Igor Araujo, Ryan Healy, Rustam Khabilov, Alexander Shlemenko and Mairbek Taisumov, among others.
But Brandao believes, with his past struggles behind, he’s finally ready to live up the promise that seemed just out of his reach in recent years.
“This is my backyard,” Brandao said. “I came from the jungle – the backyard isn’t big enough for two people. Only one lion can stay in the jungle.”
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