Unbeaten Filipino prospect, Dave Galera heads into hostile territory on Saturday night as he takes on the home town favorite in Royston Wee. His opponent will be the flag bearer for Singapore and represents the first fighter from the country ever to compete in the UFC, and Galera is in a similar situation.
While Filipino-Americans such as Brandon Vera, Mark Munoz, and Shane Del Rosario have represented the Philippines, 'The Scarecrow' is being thrust to the limelight as the first Filipino National to compete in the UFC. Like the UFC vets mentioned though, he also spent a lot of time in San Diego where he first fell in love with jiujitsu.
"I'm a Filipino born in the States, but I was raised in the Philippines for about 20 years or so," Galera said in an interview with BloodyElbow.com, "I started living in the Philippines when I was three or four years old. I went to school from kindergarten all the way up to high school there. Then I went back to the States and went back and forth but basically, but I was raised in the Philippines all my life."
Once he decided to settle down back in the Philippines permanently, Galera found the Wushu-based Team Lakay stable in Baguio. As he joined the country's top MMA camp, his game evolved and it eventually led to a URCC title, and this eventual shot at the UFC.
Related: UFC Fight Night 34: Singapore Weigh In Results and Photos
"It feels pretty good for me. It's a blessing," Galera said as he talks about being the first local Filipino signed by the UFC, "Everybody wants to be in my position. Everyone wants to be in a stage like this. It's a pleasure just to fight for the UFC."
"I was pretty surprised, shocked," he said as he talked about first getting the call, "but the next day I had my full gear on and was training."
Galera had that initial reaction come from being one of the newer prospects in the famously deep Team Lakay stable. Although he himself had real potential, he was humbly asking himself, why not them?
"The best guy in my division is Kevin Belingon," Dave said as he talked about his more established teammates, "We've got Eduard Folyang. We have Honorio (Banario), Rey Docyogen as well. The list goes on. In all the categories from strawweight to welterweight there are good fighters, but I consider Kevin Belingon and Eduard Folayang the best in Team Lakay. For me they're one of the greatest fighters ever from the Philippines."
"Watch out guys for Belingon," Galera exclaimed as he gave high praise to the ONE FC Bantamweight GP Finalist, "He's the next future champion of the bantamweight division in the UFC."
As he steps into the cage against the undefeated yet relatively unknown Singaporean in Wee, like most people, his team wasn't able to find much info on his opponent.
"I haven't seen him fight," Galera states with an unconcerned look, "I haven't seen any videos, but I've been reading a lot of things. He's good in jiujitsu, and his striking is Muay Thai based, but this is MMA so we can mix things a lot. It's not really tough (that I haven't seen footage). I don't really like watching my opponent's fights anyway. I just go with the flow. If I'm there, I'm there."
"If you put it this way, I can say that I'm preparing for my striking, but what if the person changes his game plan? It's best just to mix it a lot," he said, "It's going to be a good fight. I've finished all my last fights, and hopefully I can repeat it."
Galera stays true to his 'go with the flow' mentality as he refuses to have opponent specific game plans nor does he give predictions for his fights. He guarantees the clash to be entertaining though, but maybe not for the local crowd.
Follow me on twitter -- @antontabuena