Gilberto “Giba” Galvao has been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to make his ONE Championship return. Now, with a date set, he promises to deliver fireworks.
This coming Saturday, 15 June, the Brazilian veteran will cross paths with unbeaten grappling specialist Reinier “The Dutch Knight” De Ridder in a three-round middleweight showdown at ONE: LEGENDARY QUEST in Shanghai, China.
“I am very happy [to be back], and I will show that with my performance,” the 37-year-old Balneário Camboriú native says. “I am coming to make a big statement.”
This will undoubtedly be Galvao’s toughest assignment since joining The Home Of Martial Arts back in September 2016.
De Ridder is a black belt judoka who has a reputation for finishing his rivals often and quickly. Since making his professional mixed martial arts debut in June 2013, he has garnered a perfect 10-0 record with eight wins via submission and two more via TKO. What’s more, seven of those victories happened inside the opening stanza.
Most recently, the 28-year-old made a successful promotional debut when he submitted Chinese middleweight Fan Rong via D’Arce choke at ONE: HERO’S ASCENT in January.
Galvao, who holds black belts in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Luta Livre, has been impressed by what he has seen out of his European opponent thus far. However, if their bout turns into a grappling contest, he believes it will be bad news for “The Dutch Knight.”
“I respect him and I think he is a good fighter. I am not overlooking him, not at all. I am coming with everything I have to beat him, but I don’t see him as a fighter on my level,” the Astra Fight Team representative reveals.
“I have watched all of his fights. He’s got a good ground game, but still, he is not at my level. I have beaten world-class grapplers already, so I don’t really see anything that can surprise me in this fight. I will submit him if it turns into a grappling match.”
De Ridder may enter the contest with a flawless record, but “Giba” brings nearly four times as much experience to the ring.
Since making his professional mixed martial arts debut in June 2006, the Brazilian has powered his way to a 30-6-1 slate with half of his victories coming via submission.
During that 13-year time span, Galvao has seen a lot of creativity from his adversaries, so he will not be surprised about the kind of attacks the Dutchman will likely throw at him.
Also, the veteran has an incredibly broad frame that allows him to combine his grappling skills with sheer force. While De Ridder holds a 15-centimeter height advantage, his body type is leaner than the muscle-bound Brazilian, who looks forward to displaying his power.
“I am much stronger than him and more well-rounded,” Galvao says.
“I think I am a terrible match-up for him. I am a better striker, better wrestler, and better grappler. I will either knock him out or submit him in the first round.”
This is a pivotal bout in the middleweight division.
Both athletes are on the verge of breaking into the ONE Middleweight World Title picture, and a decisive victory for either man at the Baoshan Arena will push the winner closer to a shot at the gold.
Galvao is confident he will be the one leaving Shanghai with his arm raised, and he is willing to do anything to get a crack at the division’s reigning king.
“That’s my goal,” he says. “I want to become a ONE World Champion.”