UNCASVILLE, Conn. – Saad Awad was carrying a ton of emotion heading into Bellator 259.

Awad (24-13 MMA, 12-10 BMMA) snapped a five-fight winless skid with a first-round TKO of Nate Andrews on Friday, a win that likely saved his job.

But Awad wasn’t emotional only because of the rough patch in his career, but also because of the outbreak of violence in his home country, where thousands of Palestinian lives have been claimed and wounded in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

“Obviously I was in a bad position in my career,” Awad said at the Bellator 259 post-fight news conference. “Leading up to this fight, I couldn’t even focus on my fight. You see what’s going on in Palestine? It’s unreal. It’s all I’ve been thinking about. My family, I have family back home in Gaza, and this was a hard one.”

He continued, “I could not stop thinking about my people. And if they could survive it all, there’s no way this guy was going to take me out. … I was gonna fight until I couldn’t breathe. He was gonna have to choke me out, and I knew he was dangerous with his chokes so I went for a takedown, I felt him trying to grab my neck, and I abandoned it. The game plan was to take him down, but I said you know what, I’m gonna go out on my shield if I’m gonna go out. I think I just fought with a lot of emotion. It wasn’t my best fight, but I got the win.”

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Not too concerned about the rankings, the 37-year-old veteran is still trucking in his career and hopes to continue getting matched up in exciting contests moving forward.

“I still got a lot of fight left in me,” Awad said. “I’m with a new team now down at Fortis MMA with coach Sayif (Saud) and my brothers coaching me, Ramiz (Brahimaj) and Abdul-Kareem (Selwady), and these guys really opened up my game to being a full mixed martial artist in the small amount of time I’ve been there.”

He continued, “I’m getting older. I’m getting a little bit slower. I am getting smarter. I didn’t fight too smart this fight, but I am getting smarter, and I got a few more fights in me. I still have a couple of fights in my contract that I’m pretty sure I secured with that win, so I guess the right fights are the ones that matter. I want to put on good fights. I want exciting fights obviously.”

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