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Marcelo Golm could never afford to attend a UFC card — now he’s fighting on one in his hometown

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Marcelo Golm enters the Octagon with a perfect 5-0 record.
Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

SAO PAULO, Brazil — Marcelo Golm was hoping to sign with the UFC after winning 10 or 12 MMA fights, but the call came long before.

The Brazilian heavyweight, who holds a 5-0 record with five first-round finishes, got an offer to replace Carlos Felipe on short notice at UFC Sao Paulo, taking on Christian Colombo on Oct. 28.

"It was a big surprise for me and my entire team when I got the news, especially being a UFC event in Sao Paulo,” Golm told MMA Fighting. "It wasn’t something I expected for now, but I feel ready for this debut. I was training for a fight in November, so I feel ready when the UFC offered me this fight in October."

Golm is not only an MMA fighter, but he’s also a fan of the sport. The Brazilian talent is the type of guy who goes online to watch MMA fights and check on fighters, especially UFC heavyweights, so he knew who Colombo was when his manager Alex Davis called him with the good news.

Being a hardcore MMA fan is not enough, though, if you want to watch a live UFC event in Brazil. Tickets aren’t cheap, especially if you’re a young fighter starting your own career.

"I wasn’t planning on going to this event," said the Sao Paulo native, "and I actually never watched a UFC event live. Tickets are too expensive, so it’s hard for me to buy. That’s why I never went to a UFC event."

"Unfortunately, most of the promotions in Brazil pay fighters with tickets,” he added, "but since I train at Corinthians they give me a good support. It’s not a lot of money, but I can focus only in training. It’s tough to make a living out of purses in Brazil."

Golm’s plans for the weekend have changed. Instead of watching the fights on TV Saturday night, the 25-year-old heavyweight will step inside the Octagon for the first time to compete.

"I had in my mind that I’d only go to a UFC event the day I was going to fight there, and it’s happening now,” Golm said with a laugh. "I want to enter the arena before the fight, step inside the Octagon, but I think I’ll be as nervous as I was for any of my fights. I can’t think about how big the UFC is. I won’t feel this pressure.”

Colombo is also looking for his first UFC win after fighting to a draw with Jarjis Danho in his debut and losing to Luis Henrique last November, and Golm predicts a short night for the Danish “Godzilla."

"I’ll do my best and come out victorious,” he said. "I’ll go for the knockout all the time."