After a prolonged absence due to injury and something of a rough stretch, Brandon Girtz got back in the win column at Bellator 219 thanks to a thrilling brawl with Saad Awad.
Temecula, CA — In a main event that was an absolute barn burner, Brandon Girtz got the better of Saad Awad Friday night at Bellator 219. Girtz, a training partner of Justin Gaethje (fighting Saturday at UFC Philadelphia), was swinging for the fences throughout the fight. At least twice, he seemed close to finishing. But the resilient Awad managed to recover and escape on both occasions. And far from a one-sided fight, Awad gave plenty back to Girtz, who was showing his battle scars, so to speak, after the bout.
Not to worry though. As he told media members including Cageside Press post fight at the Pechanga Casino and Resort, “When you win, everything hurts a lot less. Let’s just put it that way.”
Breaking down the bout, Girtz said that “I knew what I was getting with him. I was excited at the beginning, because I thought I put him out right away. I looked at him, he did go out, he came right back. And I was like ‘aww sh*t, this is going to be a fight.'”
It absolutely was. And Brandon Girtz wouldn’t have it any other way. “That’s what I do. I come to fight,” he said. “Put somebody like a Saad in front of me, you’re gonna see a fight. I’m not going to quit. When I get hit, I come back harder.”
In his mind, there was never really any doubt that he’d won the contest. “I thought I was for sure landing the harder shots. He went down twice. Three times.” Yet Girtz had high praise for his opponent, adding that “the guy’s an animal. He doesn’t stop coming.”
Of course, going to the judges is always a dicey prospect. While Girtz thought that “for sure I won the fight,” he later admitted that “you never know when it goes to the judges. I don’t want to, I thought ‘are these guys going to screw me?’ That’s going to go through your head, I’ve had it happen before. That’s why you see me, every time I’m throwing, I’m throwing to end the fight.”
Girtz did believe the fight might be stopped in the third. Especially after coming close in the first. “I thought he was done again, you know, and he just came back. He’s a damn warrior.” Girtz credited Awad for moving out of the position, admitting that he just couldn’t hold his opponent down at that point.
In the end, however, all three judges saw the fight for Girtz, leaving little question about the victor. Now, it’s on to the next one. Hopefully soon, though he did mention a slight knee injury that will need to be checked out.
As to what comes next, well, “I haven’t really thought past Awad, I’m not going to lie,” said Girtz. “He was the only guy I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been out a year. The roster changes, the top names change. I had him in my sights, and I have Chandler in my sights. I’m not saying Chandler’s next. I know I gotta go out there and put another one of these on, and hopefully knock somebody out next.”
“I got nobody in mind. I just want a top guy, I want someone that wants to fight.”
Watch the full Bellator 219 post-fight press scrum with Brandon Girtz above!