When opportunity came knocking, Brandon Girtz answered the call. As a result, the Bellator veteran now finds himself in the main event at Bellator 197, opposite former champion Michael Chandler.
Who you gonna call? Bellator lightweight Brandon Girtz. And you thought we were going to say Ghostbusters. Girtz, however, is who Scott Coker called to save the main event of Bellator 197, roughly three weeks away.
The event was originally set to be headlined by the highly anticipated rematch between newly crowned champion Brent Primus and former champ Michael Chandler. The anticipated grudge match will have to wait, however. Primus was forced to pull out of what would’ve been his first title defense at Bellator 197 due to a knee injury.
When one half of your main event is removed from the fight card, especially in such close proximity to the event, it spells disaster more times than not. For would-be promoters, anyway. For veteran fight promoter Scott Coker, it’s just another day on the job. In a bizarre way, Bellator almost seems to relish these moments — after all, they’re pretty much the official home of the “catchweight” fight.
As for Brandon Girtz, although he told us he had something in the way of a fight lined up for later in the year, he jumped at the chance to fight Michael Chandler. Even just three and a half weeks out. Girtz was kind enough to give Cageside Press some time following a whirlwind 48 hours.
Short notice fights always stand in stark contrast to the usual pace of bookings in today’s MMA world. A fallen headliner necessitates a quick fix, which stands out in an era when fights often take months to get booked, and sometimes never materialize at all. If you’re wondering how on earth this fight came together so quick, Girtz made it simple. “Well, Primus got hurt,” Girtz said. “They (Bellator) knew who to call to save the show, everyone knows I’m going to bring the fight and give the fans exactly what they came for.”
Girtz has never been accused of being a boring fighter. Nor has the 33 year old from Minneapolis, Minnesota, ever turned a fight down either. “I didn’t think twice about taking the (Chandler) fight,” Girtz said when asked about the call. “I’m a fighter, I fight. That’s what I do. As soon as I’m asked to fight, I fight.”
It’s a job Girtz loves, that’s for sure. Perhaps some of that excitement is conjured up at the gym, trading blows with one of his main training partners: Justin Gaethje. “Justin is a real savage,” said Girtz when asked about his long-time gym mate.
“This is like the third fight in a row where Gaethje and I are fighting a week apart,” Girtz explained. “This next fight, we are fighting just one day apart so everything really is working out great.”
Everything, it would appear, is going according to plan in the training room then. However, you can’t help but notice just how much Chandler and Girtz’s game mirror each other’s. “Yea, we both have big power and a solid wrestling base,” Girtz conceded.
“Styles makes fights, and we both have similar styles,” Girtz continued. “I don’t think this fight is going the distance though, not the way we both go out there and look for the finish. It’s going to be fireworks!”
Fireworks are definitely in the forecast next month then. Bellator 197 airs live from St. Charles, Missouri, at the Family Arena on Friday, April 13 only on Paramount Network.