This Saturday from Mexico City, UFC 188 will take place. This card will see Kelvin Gastelum the #10 ranked welterweight move up to middleweight to take on Nate “The Great” Marquardt. This move up to middleweight was no surprise after multiple hard weight cuts for Gastelum in his UFC career. In Gastelum’s last fight against Tyron Woodley at UFC 183, he missed weight by 10 pounds and lost a split decision to Woodley. This will be the second fight for Gastelum at Middleweight in the UFC and I expect this to be the best Gastelum we have seen in the Octagon to date in either weight division.

Cardio/Pace

In Gastelum’s past fights, he has struggled with his cardio and a lot of that has been attributed to his hard weight cuts, he was doing himself no favours cutting down to welterweight in regards to his performance within the Octagon. With this move to middleweight, I believe we will see the cardio that Gastelum truly possess. By keeping a high output in the early rounds against Marquardt, it will assure Gastelum that he will be on the offensive and will have Marquardt fighting off of his back foot, this will limit Marquardt’s takedowns as well.

Test Marquardt’s Chin

After all of the wars Nate Marquardt has been in throughout his 49-fight MMA career, his chin and ability to absorb punishment has started to wane. This is something that has plagued aging MMA fighters throughout the history of the MMA, so it is not shocking to those who follow the sport closely. Gastelum needs to come out strong in the first round and work at a high rate, trying to land head strikes to see if Marquardt’s chin is going to let him stay in the fight.

Combinations

Gastelum’s striking works best when he uses three and four strike combinations. Marquardt is a veteran of the sport and will be able to see and stop one and two strike combinations. To make sure that Marquardt isn’t getting into rhythm and grinding Gastelum against the cage, Gastelum will need to work his combinations frequently pushing the pace of the fight and testing the chin of Marquardt regularly during the fight especially in the early rounds.

Marquardt is a veteran of the sport and has many more years of experience than Gastelum. Along with all that experience comes wear and tear on a fighter’s body and Marquardt is no exception. Since returning to the UFC at UFC 158, he has been unimpressive amassing a 1-3 record with two of his losses coming by knockout in the first round. Following these three keys to victory that I laid out for Gastelum, a first round KO/TKO stoppage will be in his future this Saturday at UFC 188.

About The Author

Scott Bond
Staff Writer

Scott is a Sports Administration graduate from Laurentian University. He has been a fan of MMA for over 15 years following closely the impact it has had on Canada. The business side of MMA is Scott’s true passion, be it the economics of the sport or the worldwide acceptance it has received and increased revenues that have followed.