Hired about two weeks ago to replace Christos Giagos, Gabriel Fly will make his UFC debut this Saturday, at UFC Paris, against Benoit Saint-Denis. The Brazilian, who trains at the MMA Masters in the United States, has 15 of his 16 career wins by submission, but believes he can surprise the Frenchman with his standup game.
– From what I’ve seen, he gives a lot of gap, a lot of neck. He’s a good grappler, but he has a lot of gaps in his neck. So the guillotine, a triangle, goes right in there. I’m always looking for a knockout or submission, but only when it’s time to unfold. Important is to bring victory. For me, a perfect night would be a knockout to show that I am a complete athlete and bring a bonus of the night to my family. combat.com.
Gabriel Fly debuts this Saturday in the UFC — Photo: BRAVE CF
Fly has been training at the MMA Masters for nine months, after feeling that his career was stagnant in Brazil. Before that, he trained for most of his career at CM System, in Curitiba, and had two former Saint-Denis opponents as training partners: Elizeu Capoeira, who won by points in a dominant performance in the UFC, and Luan Miau, which was finished by the Frenchman at Brave. Gabriel said he talked to both of them to get tips for combat.
– I talked to them, they said: “There’s this here, this here and this here, remember?”. We’ve already exchanged information, those ideas. There’s a little surprise. Everyone is telling me to finish, I feel that the crowd is not interested in my standing part, so I prepared a little surprise, some standing combos. It won’t be a surprise if I end up with a knockout. I want to show that I’m a complete athlete, I don’t just have jiu-jitsu. Of course, if I have a gap to finish in 10 seconds, I’ll finish, but I’m prepared to unwind in the standing part and to go for points. The important thing is to bring the victory to Brazil and start my journey in the UFC. As he is a good grappler too, I think it will be a fight resolved in detail. Whoever makes the first mistake will pay for it. We work on making him make a mistake, giving pressure, going up, because when he makes a mistake, I’ll knock him out or submit him – he bet.
Gabriel Fly chose to go to the MMA Masters on the recommendation of his manager and now intends to stay in the United States for good. One of his current training partners is welterweight Colby Covington, who has been involved in controversies with Brazilians.
– I was coming to the USA to spend a season and my manager said: “Go to the MMA Masters, people are Brazilian, masters are too, it will be very well received”. I already knew the quality of their work. I got there, met the masters and in the first impression everything was matching, very good energy. Colby himself was afraid when I saw him through the story with Brazil, but he was totally the opposite. He gave me a hug, said he loves Brazilians and I could see that he puts a character to sell the fight, but he’s super good people, the energy was cool there. The work is pretty amazing.
Fly’s nickname was even given when he was still at CM System, by coach Marcelo Zulu, who found him similar to the dancer who carries the same nickname.
– Everyone asks that (laughs). I always say that there are two versions, the true one and the one I tell. I say I do flying arm-bars, flying triangles, that sort of thing. But the truth is that, at the gym, Zulu looked at me and said: “There, he looks like Fly, a dancer from Xuxa, from Caldeirão do Huck…”. I said: “What the hell, I don’t even know how to dance…”. But you’ve seen it, right? When you say no, then you get (the nickname). The crowd started calling it just Fly and, when I saw it, Fly became a name already. I just had to absorb and accept it.
About facing a French athlete in the first UFC event in France, Gabriel showed no concern about the pressure of the fans on the day of the fight.
– We are always used to that madness and passion of the Brazilian people, so I’m sure you won’t have that. Nowhere in the world can you find the madness and passion that you have in Brazil. Everywhere I fought abroad, I always faced the local athlete, so that pressure I can use well. And the French people are really nice, I walked around the hotel, we did some open training, people even knowing I was going to fight with French people, came to take a picture, wished a good fight. I felt a lot of affection from the French fans so far. We’ll see after I win the fight, how they’ll treat me. Not throwing things at me, it’s fine (laughs) – he joked.
UFC Gane x Tuivasa service
This Saturday, the Combat broadcasts UFC Gane x Tuivasa live and exclusively from 1:15 pm (Brasilia time). O combat.com broadcasts “Aquecimento Combate” and the first two fights from 1:05 pm, as well as the Combat YouTube. The website follows the event in real time.
UFC Gane vs Tuivasa
September 3, 2022 in Paris
MAIN CARD (16:00, Brasília time):
Heavyweight: Cyril Gane vs Tai Tuivasa
Middleweight: Robert Whittaker vs Marvin Vettori
Middleweight: Alessio di Chirico vs Roman Kopylov
Lightweight: John Makdessi vs Nasrat Haqparast
Featherweight: William Gomis vs Jarno Errens
Featherweight: Charles Jourdain vs Nathaniel Wood
PRELIMINARY CARD (1:15 pm, Brasília time):
Middleweight: Abusupiyan Magomedov vs Dustin Stoltzfus
Lightweight: Fares Ziam vs Michal Figlak
Middleweight: Nassourdine Imavov vs Joaquin Buckley
Lightweight: Benoit St. Denis vs Gabriel Miranda
Bantamweight: Khalid Taha vs Cristian Quiñonez
Featherweight: Stephanie Egger vs Ailin Perez
UFC debuts in Paris and you can see it live in Combat!