Bellator 226’s Gaston Bolanos: “I surf, I fight, I love studying fights”

Gaston Bolanos
Gaston Bolanos Credit: Bellator MMA

We spoke to Bellator featherweight Gaston Bolanos ahead of Bellator 226, about his love of surfing, fighting, and his bout with Daniel Carey.

Gaston Bolanos takes on Daniel Carey this Saturday at Bellator 226. The SAP Center in San Jose, California plays host to the next Bellator card, and Bolanos vs. Carey is a featherweight fight that sets off the main card in style. Bolanos is a proven action fighter and this 145lb bout is an intriguing fringe bout as the 16 man featherweight grand prix kicks off.

Surfing to Achieve Flow State in Fighting

Gaston Bolanos trusts his head coach with all facets of his martial arts training. Bolanos has a sense of laser focus that creates a fluidity for him while preparing for fights. Bolanos seems to be a passionate guy and he knows what he wants out of life. Speaking to us ahead of the fight, he said “I surf, I fight, I love studying fights.” Beyond the fighting, surfing has been a huge thing for Bolanos over the years, both mentally and physically.

“Lately I’ve been working on my grappling a lot and I’ve been surfing a lot at the same time,” Bolanos said. “Grappling is easy compared to grappling with the ocean. I’ve been surfing for even longer than I’ve been fighting. That’s one of the things that I love the most to do when I’m not training or getting ready for fights. I feel like there’s a big comparison between surfing and fighting and martial arts. Everything that comes through.”

Muay Thai Mechanics

This fight will feature some new grappling techniques perhaps but the striking of Bolanos is always on point. Bolanos has a knack for landing highlight-reel knockouts. Ones that have that rare confluence of sharp technique, perfect timing, and devastating one-strike finishing power.

When asked about the recipe for a perfect KO, Bolanos said “most knockouts that you see, it’s a mixture of the opponent not being forthcoming and the fighter being able to counter and time it really well. When you hit somebody at the same time they don’t expect, that will create a vicious amount of power. It’s a combination of timing, condition, space, and distance.”

Martial arts has been established in the Bolanos family and that’s what got Gaston into it. “My dad started doing Muay Thai before I did,” Bolanos recalled. “He would pick me up after school. I would go to watch him and eventually started hitting the bag. Started training and before I knew it, I had a couple of fights lined up. It was my way of releasing anger as a child and my way of staying disciplined.”

His parents said no Muay Thai training if the homework didn’t get done. This evidently proved to be a powerful tool. It propelled Bolanos to where he’s at today and the next stop on the tour is Bellator 226.

Gaston Bolanos: Bellator 226

The Gaston Bolanos Bellator 226 path leads him towards Daniel Carey. “He’s a tough guy, tough competitor. I think he’s got some good skills,” said Bolanos. “I do watch tape, I don’t fixate, I don’t like fixating,” he continued. “At the same time, you always have to be aware. You’ve got to have a balance. You’ve got to know when to train really hard and when to take a rest.”

There will be a huge crowd with a partisan vibe. Bolanos feels he has the right opponent and dance partner to open up the main card. In a generalized sense though, it’s less about the opponent. Gaston Bolanos himself takes precedence over honing his individual performance to besting anyone in particular.

Bolanos added, “that’s my number one goal every time I step back out there. To be better than I was last. Not so much about beating the person that’s in front of me but being able to beat the person that I was in my last fight. And to outshine that last performance that I had. I have knockouts from everywhere. Eventually, we’re going to start seeing some submissions in there. I’m always working on my craft and I’m always trying to get better.”

Fighting Future

Bellator 226 is immediately on the horizon but Bolanos is a sharp, goal-oriented guy. There’s a desire to have a future gig as an analyst as Bolanos is an avid fight fan who loves breaking things down in an articulate fashion. The ‘Dreamkiller’ is always watching fights and he’s also a 145lb’er so of course he’ll be watching along with the featherweight grand prix.

“Of course I’m focused on this Grand Prix,” Bolanos admitted. “I’m watching everybody that’s on it. I believe it’s a very good, stacked tournament when it comes to the Bellator featherweight division. All around the board you have all talent. The veterans on one side then you have the young guns.”

Bellator kickboxing is also something that the Muay Thai savant is eyeballing. Bolanos noted that “I’ve been fighting since I was 10 years old. I’m 26 now. I love fighting, man. I’m healthy and I love staying busy. If there’s an opportunity for some MMA fights or jump into a kickboxing card, I’ll do it. I’m a fighter but first and foremost I’m a competitor.”

Bolanos also has a playlist every camp that he makes available to his followers the week of the fight. Individual playlists personalized to every fight with its own name, meaning, etc. He seems to respect each and every opponent and compartmentalizes each fight as a wholly unique experience.

Gaston Bolanos vs. Daniel Carey goes down Saturday, September 7. Bellator 226’s main card will broadcast on DAZN starting at 10 PM ET.

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I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, My MMA News, Sports Betting Dime and Liberty Multimedia.

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