PFL’s Gabriel Braga reflects on first win since father’s death: ‘In leaving us, he left me very ready’

CHICAGO – With a heavy heart, Gabriel Braga entered the cage for the first time since his father’s death.

At 2024 PFL 3, Braga (13-1) began his featherweight season with a bout against Justin Gonzales. With one second left on the clock in Round 1, Braga prompted the referee to stop the fight after landing a series of hard punches that sent Gonzales (14-4) to the ground.

Braga dropped to his knees in the center of the cage, letting the emotions of the entire moment take over as he lifted both hands toward the sky.

“He left us, but in leaving us, he left me very ready,” Braga said about his father through an interpreter during a post-fight news conference. “Ready for these moments, ready to make him proud, and ready to conquer the world, so that’s what I’m here to do.”

Braga’s father, Diego, was killed in January in Brazil. A drug gang reportedly murdered him as they searched for a stolen motorcycle.

While working through the pain of losing a parent, Braga’s circle helped keep a smile on his face. He continued training to prepare for this PFL season, which he intends to win.

“I’m here to be a champion,” Braga said. “Last year, I feel like I conquered a lot of space within the organization. I proved my worth, but this year I’m here to be champion.”

Check out Braga’s full post-fight interview in the video above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for PFL 2024, Week 3.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie