UFC is getting more and more popular so we got keen follower of the sport David Walker (@Walkerdavid32) to give us his best bets on the Saturday night action.
UFC Fight Night 78 sees the third foray into the growing Mexican market for the organisation. As with many of the countries that the UFC are looking to expand in, this fight card sees a considerable number of local fighters, many of whom will be unknown to even the most ardent of fans. However, the two fights that I will be looking at include very well known fighters.
Kelvin Gastelum v Neil Magny | Sunday 03:00
The first fight of interest is the main event between Kelvin Gastelum and Neil Magny. Although American, Gastelum is of Hispanic descent and will be passionately supported by the crowd for the fight. Gastelum was initially scheduled to fight Matt Brown which would have been a toe to toe war and potential candidate for fight of the year. Unfortunately Brown damaged ankle ligaments and had to pull out of the fight, allowing Neil Magny to step up to the plate.
The battle between Gastelum and Magny will be contested over five rounds and I thoroughly believe this one will run for the duration. Gastelum, the winner of TUF 17, is an extremely well rounded fighter who had been winning with relative ease at the beginning of his UFC career, however, he has run into weight problems and has struggled to meet the 171lbs welterweight limit too often – to the extent that he was forced to move up to middleweight for his last fight, where he destroyed Nate Marquardt winning by stoppage at the end of the first round.
Due to Gastelum agreeing to work with a nutritionist again and being fully aware that this would be his last opportunity to make weight at 170lbs, Dana White permitted Gastelum to return to welterweight. Thankfully for everyone involved, he stood on the scales at 171lbs during yesterday's weigh ins and looked fairly comfortable.
Magny is both incredibly reliable and durable and, without question, one of the most active fighters on the UFC's roster having fought ten times in the last 20 months. He has been slowly rising and is extremely well thought of in the MMA media.
However, in Gastelum, he is facing an opponent who is simply more skilled that he is, more powerful and more athletic. Magny's biggest weapon against Gastelum will be his durability and his stamina.
I fully expect Gastelum to come out in the first two to three rounds and dominate Magny on the feet and on the ground without actually finishing his opponent. In the fourth and fifth rounds, I expect Gastelum to tire due to his weight issues and for Magny to be the fresher fighter, however, as previously mentioned, I do not see Magny as having the tools to finish Gastelum. 3-2 Gastelum for me in this fight.
Henry Cejudo v Jussier Formiga | Sunday 03:00
The second fight I want to look more closely at is another one which I expect to go the distance and it is between Olympic gold medalist (wrestling) Henry Cejudo and the experienced Jussier Formiga.
Cejudo (8-0) is unbeaten as a mixed martial artist and is very highly respected within the MMA community and is someone that the UFC see as a potential future champion at flyweight (125lbs).
Cejudo has won his last five fights by decision and has a dominating wrestling game allowing him to control most opponents. I expect this to come to the fore against Formiga when the two compete in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Kelvin Gastelum v Neil Magny – Gastelum to win by decision (2/1 Bet365)
Henry Cejudo v Jussier Formiga – Cejudo to win by decision (8/13 Coral)
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