Chris Wade has never been stopped in more than a decade of MMA competion, and that includes fights against UFC king Islam Makhachev and two-time PFL champ Natan Schulte. Undefeated Brazilian prospect Gabriel Braga, however, feels he’s the right man for the job.
Braga is 11-0 with five knockouts to his credit, capped off by a first-round finish over Marlon Moraes. He faces Wade at Friday’s PFL 7 event in San Antonio after original opponent Movlid Khaybulaev pulled out due to an injury, and he discussed Wade’s reputation for being unfinishable on this week’s episode of MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast.
“He’s fought against all of those [guys] but he hasn’t fought me, you know?” Braga said with a smile. “I’m prepared mentally and physically, strategy on point. If he opens up too much, I’ll hit him. And if I hit him, he’s going down.”
Wade has suffered nine losses in 32 professional bouts for some of the biggest promotions in the world, from the UFC and PFL to Ring of Combat and WSOF. Those nine losses came via decision, including a rare non-stoppage victory for Makhachev in his pre-title run.
Wade choked out Ryoji Kudo inside one round in his most recent appearance in June. Now he gets a quick turnaround for the PFL featherweight playoffs.
“He really is a very tough athlete,” Braga said. “I’ll go in there knowing I have 15 minutes to have fun and do what I’ve been working on for months. The knockout or the submission is just the consequence. I hope I can knock him out. Imagine being the first, and go to the final like that? But I know I’ll win, no matter how. He’s just another one I’m fighting. I’ll show I’m the best, that I’m in my best moment. I’m ready to go after this belt and the [$1 million] prize that will really change my life.”
Braga said nothing changed much in terms of strategy after the opponent switch because Wade and Khaybulaev are both wrestlers, but it may have gotten less complicated.
“Chris is also a wrestler but he exposes himself on the feet a bit more, he likes to stand and trade too,” Braga said. “I don’t think he’s as good of as a wrestler compared to the Russian, because when they both fought, the Russian won. I think it’s a better matchup for me. I don’t underestimate any athlete, we’re all training really hard, but I’ll go in there and show once again that this is my moment.”