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:
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