Brandon Girtz has seen bad luck and injury take him out of a couple of recent fights, but he knows he’s been competitive the entire time, and is looking to come back strong at Bellator 219.
Appearing in the main event of Bellator 219 this Friday, there’s no question that Brandon Girtz has his back against the wall. But it just as easily could be a different story. If you look at Girtz’s recent record, the numbers don’t tell the full story. His fight with Derek Campos was stopped due to a cut. His submission loss to Michael Chandler in his most recent fight came after he blew out his shoulder.
In between those, he picked up a knockout win over Luka Jelcic at Bellator 190. Now, he’s up against Saad Awad, a game lightweight and pairing that promises to result in fireworks. And despite coming in off a loss, Girtz enters the fight knowing that, in facing Chandler last time out, “I was right in it.” At least up until his arm gave out. “That fight, basically got stopped or whatever because I blew out my shoulder. I didn’t have an arm.”
“Until that point, I was in there,” Gritz told Cageside Press recently. “I felt his energy. I felt like I was getting the better of him, especially on the feet. I didn’t feel like there was really anything he could possibly do to me. It’s unfortunate my body gave out, but that was out of my hands.”
Not only was his shoulder separated, he “pretty much tore every ligament in my shoulder.”
Looking back, Girtz said “it’s kind of a crazy thing, given how it happened. A position I’ve been in multiple times throughout wrestling. Just a post, and it gave out like that.” The lightweight had “never had an injury like that on my arm, so it’s been a process, but definitely one you learn from.”
His return was supposed to come a little sooner, at Bellator 215 last month. Pedro Carvalho was booked against him, but the fight fell through. “I was told he got injured, the guy even reached out to me and told me nah, it was visa isssues. Which I’ve heard is a big thing right now, people can’t get visas,” Girtz revealed. Either way, that fight was lost, but every cloud has a silver lining. “I feel like this is a much bigger fight.”
“This is a main event, a name I know and respect. With that, good things came.” After the February 15 fight was cancelled, either March 22 or 29 were targeted by Girtz and his team. The show in Temecula, CA on March 29 won out. “We were kind of scheduled as the co-main, knowing that the main event might be falling out.” Ultimately, Girtz feels that Bellator “just knew that they wanted to be able to still put on a show for Temecula.”
A show is what he’s expecting. On Awad, Girtz told us that “he comes to fight. That’s what I see from him. Every time he comes in there, he’s looking to put his opponent away. I don’t look at him as a fighter that likes to point fight, or anything out there. He’s trying to knock his opponent out.”
“We’re kind of the same in that,” Girtz observed. “I’m going out there, I’m looking to put my opponent out. I think that’s the reason they made this the main event, they know we’re going to go out there and put on a show.”
And while yes, you can say Girtz’s back is against the wall, “what’s crazy is, I’ve lost a few of the last fights. When I look back at them, the Chandler fight, injury. Then I had a knockout. I look back at the Campos fight, that got stopped due to a cut on my forehead. A fight that I felt great in, and I don’t feel like should have been stopped.”
“That last few fights, I felt like I was doing great in,” he continued. “You end up with the L, which is a crazy thing, but me, inside, I know that I was doing great, I felt great, and those fights could have gone either way.”
In short, Girtz recognizes that in life, “sometimes you get unfortunate hands.” But he doesn’t really worry about this being “a must-win or whatever — I’m main event for a reason. I come, I show up, and I entertain. Three out of my last four fights have been main event fights. There’s a reason for it. People like a fight, and that’s what I bring.”
He’s also hoping to work his way back to Michael Chandler. From early on after he signed with the promotion, “I knew that he was gonna be one of the guys that I was going to be fighting, that he was the top of the stack,” Girtz said.
“When I jumped on that late notice chance to fight him, I felt like it was destined to be. He’s still who I’ve been eyeing.”
For now, however, Chandler has Patricio Pitbull, Girtz has Awad. On Chandler vs. Pitbull, Girtz sees Chandler dominating. “I like Patricio, I think he’s a great fighter, but their styles, I don’t think it matches up well for him. I think Chandler is too big, too aggressive, too strong.” He predicts Chandler will be able to take the Brazilian down at will. “And then if he doesn’t finish him on the ground, he’ll finish him with a left hand.”
As for Girtz’s own fight, “it’s a hard one to say that I ain’t gonna get the knockout here. I know that he’s going to come to fight, I’m coming to fight. I put my head down, I throw power into my punches. I’m looking to knock out my opponent every time I step out there, no ifs and buts about it.”
Brandon Girtz faces Saad Awad in the main event of Bellator 219 this Friday, March 29 at the Pechanga Resort and Casino in Temecula, CA. The main card airs on Paramount Network and DAZN.