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The Great Debate: Chris Weidman vs Kelvin Gastelum

The UFC is back on Fox this Saturday. It is headlined by a very competitive matchup. Former middleweight champion, Chris Weidman faces former Ultimate Fighter winner, Kelvin Gastelum. The fight is also the subject of our newest Great Debate. The current series champion, Cory Groeneveld will be arguing for Kelvin Gastelum and Keith Shillan will be arguing for Chris Weidman.

 

Why Chris Weidman Will Win By Keith Shillan:

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The UFC has finally come to Long Island, and its home town hero, Chris Weidman gets to headline it against the young and OVERHYPED Kelvin Gastelum. Both Weidman and Gastelum enter this bout from completely different ends of the spectrum. Weidman enters the contest hearing people doubting if he is still a top talented fighter and if he should be released from the UFC. Gastelum enters the contest hearing people ask if he should get the next title shot. I think both are wrong assumptions and are far from the truth. Almost as bad of an assumption that Cory will beat me in this debate.

Before we go any further, I would like to go back to May 23rd, 2015. That is the day that Chris Weidman easily defeated a TRT induced, Vitor Belfort. It was the New Yorker’s third straight title defense after beating Anderson Silva  People were starting to talk about him as an All-Time great and wondering how many more wins until we compare him to Silva, Georges St. Pierre, and Jon Jones.

Now fast forward to his last three fights. He lost to Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, and Gegard Mousasi. Those three guys have two things in common. All three were losing to Chris Weidman before Weidman made a huge mistake. The second thing is all three are way better fighters than Kelvin Gastelum.

Weidman was beating Rockhold before Weidman attempted that silly spinning wheel kick, that put Weidman under a gigantic middleweight in Rockhold. He was beating Romero before getting hit by the flying knee. Lastly, he was turning Mousasi into a takedown dummy before that controversial stoppage. He has made mistakes, but not fallen as nearly as far as people are pretending.

Now let’s look at Gastelum’s last two fights. He beat Tim Kennedy, who was out of fighting for nearly two years and retired immediately after the fight. Then he faced Belfort, who is 40 years old and way past his prime. Gastelum also had some bad moments in each fight. He was getting out muscled by Tim Kennedy before Kennedy’s gas tank ran out. He was also tagged several times by Belfort.

So Weidman lost to the best of the division, while Gastelum beat guys on their way out the door.

Weidman will have a massive size advantage on Gastelum. As many have said, “Gastelum is a welterweight that likes tacos”. Weidman has a 5-inch height advantage, 6.5-inch reach advantage, and could have 15-20 pound weight advantage come fight time.

Gastelum should have the advantage in speed and many are saying will have an advantage in the standup. However, Gastelum sets his strikes up behind his jab. That jab becomes a lot less effective when you give up 6.5 inches in reach. The last opponent that had a significant reach advantage on Gastelum was Neil Magny, which also happens to be his last loss. Gastelum knows he can’t hang with the top middleweights, which is why he has talked about his desire to move back down welterweight after his last two fights.

Weidman also has a huge advantage in wrestling. Gastelum is a solid wrestler, but he was a Jr College wrestler. Weidman was a two-time division 1 NCAA All-American. Plus Gastelum being southpaw sets him up for Weidman’s snatch single (See how he took Silva down).

Weidman has beaten a better wrestler than Gastelum (Mark Munoz). He had beaten a better grappler than Gastelum (Demian Maia). Lastly, he has beaten better strikers than Gastelum (Silva, Belfort, and Lyota Machida). What should Weidman be worried about?

People got to remember that Weidman is still only 33 years old. Fighters like Randy Couture, Maurico “Shogun” Rua, and Robbie Lawler have been proclaimed of being finished and then resurrected their careers and capture a UFC gold. Weidman might be the next one.

Give me Chris Weidman by 3rd round TKO (Ground and Pound).

 

Why Kelvin Gastelum Will Win by Cory Groeneveld

This weekend the UFC heads to Long Island New York for UFC on Fox 25. The main event of the card features Chris Weidman vs Kelvin Gastelum. It’s a great matchup that I think is going to be a lot closer than what most people are expecting it to be. I am going to tell you though why I believe when it’s all said and done, Gastelum will be victorious.
Coming into this fight both fighters are looking to prove something. First off Chris Weidman is looking to prove that his current three fight losing streak is just a fluke and that he is still someone you don’t want to mess with. Then you have Kelvin Gastelum who is trying to prove that he deserves a chance at a title fight. Gastelum is looking for that key win in the middleweight division, while Weidman is just trying to avoid a fourth straight loss.
Next, let’s look at momentum.  Just by looking at the last couple fights, both fighters are going in different directions when it comes to momentum. As stated before, Chris Weidman is currently on a three fight losing streak. With all three fights being finished by TKO or KO. Although Weidman seems confident coming into this fight since it’s taking place in his hometown, I feel there has to be a lot of nerves and pressure to not lose his fourth fight in the last 19 months.  Next, when we take a look at Kelvin Gastelum, he is currently riding a  three fight win streak (If you don’t change his last fight against Vitor Belfort a No Decision). Gastelum has defeated Vitor Belfort, Tim Kennedy, and Johny Hendricks in the last 12 months. Gastelum looks to keep the momentum going and pick up an impressive win to help his resume by defeating Weidman this Saturday.
Now let’s get into the details of the fighting strategy. First, Weidman holds a big advantage in height and reach. There is no denying that Weidman has the size advantage over a much smaller Gastelum. Although smaller, Gastelum is a very fast fighter and can use his speed to keep himself out of harm’s way when he needs to do.
Both fighters are known to be good wrestlers, but Weidman is definitely the better grappler and wrestler. Expect him to try and keep this fight on the mat. Getting a submission on Gastelum won’t be easy though. First off, no one has ever finished Gastelum. Both losses have come at the hands of a decision. Gastelum is also a good wrestler and knows how to play good defense to keep himself from getting submitted. Gastelum needs to not let the majority of this fight take place on the mat. If he does he won’t have a shot to win in my opinion. Wrestling I give the advantage to Weidman, but believe Gastelum is a good enough fighter to avoid the take downs and get out of trouble when he needs to.
Next, let’s take a look at striking. You would think with a reach advantage that Weidman would be the better striker. That’s not the case here. Gastelum is a very dangerous striker. Gastelum is not afraid to get in there and go punch for punch with you. He will need to be careful since he is a smaller fighter, but I think he can find the holes he needs to and take care of business. With being TKO or KO his last three fights, this has to be a big worry for Weidman. Will he be able to avoid and absorb the punches that Gastelum will be throwing at him? There are questions of how well his chin can hold up.  I think this is a big problem for Weidman and Gastelum will look to exploit it.
This will be one close fight. A lot closer than what most people are expecting. Even though this fight is taking place in Weidman’s backyard, I think the downward fall continues. I don’t think the home crowd will be enough to energize him to victory. Gastelum will deliver a fourth straight finish to Weidman with a TKO in the 4th round. I think Weidman will hold up the first two rounds very well, but that chin will start taking a beating till it can no longer take any more punches. Gastelum gets a much-needed win and his name will start surfacing as a possible title contender.
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