UFC 258 is already right around the corner and it has everything to make the perfect PPV event, packing young prospects to a highly anticipated championship match. Join me as I take a look at one of the thrilling middleweight matchups for the show, and break down the threats that both competitors possess. Former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum faces the #15 ranked Ian Heinisch in a pivotal matchup in the top 15 of UFC’s middleweight division. After Uriah Hall vs Chris Weidman fell through, the spotlight is now on another two of the division’s elite.
Currently on a 3 fight losing streak, Kelvin Gastelum is looking to get back in the win column against an admirable opponent in Ian Heinisch. The Arizona native almost shocked the world in April 2019 with an all-time great performance against the current champion Israel Adesanya. But even in defeat, his effort was something special and both showed the world why they are the best in the middleweight division. We all know that Gastelum has wrestling, being a state wrestling champion at Cibola High School in Yuma, Arizona but I think Gastelum will only grapple if necessary as Heinisch is also a state champion.
This is the perfect opportunity for “The Hurricane” Ian Heinisch, to shine. from being a drug addict at 18 years old, to competing in the world’s number one combat sports organization. A victory over the former interim title challenger would be monumental for the 32-year-old’s career. After a 2 fight losing streak, Heinisch came back and faced Gerald Meerschaert winning by TKO. Ian has always been known for his relentless pace in his wrestling, holding his opponents down for 3 or more rounds but the story might be different against Kelvin. Both are known for their world-class grappling so that could be a last resort in the gameplan but they also pack a punch which has been shown multiple times in different levels of competition inside and outside of the UFC.
The Style Matchup
As I have previously mentioned, both guys are known for their wrestling and knockout power but when they come face to face in the octagon we can only guess what they have in store for us. Usually the case with two grapplers in the cage, we get to see a beautiful display of bloody carnage in their striking. Take Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington for example; Kamaru lands 3.44 takedowns per 15 minutes whereas Colby lands 5.69 in the same time frame. And in 5 rounds the only exchange on the ground came after a knockdown in the 5th, it was also the finishing sequence.
So what does that mean for this matchup? Well although both guys won’t be opposed to taking each other down, I think a standup war and possible fight of the night candidate will definitely be shown in this middleweight matchup. However, if we do end up on the mat let’s dive into the danger of submissions from these guys.
Heinisch has two victories by way of submission both outside of the UFC and both by way of scarf hold armlock. Although two submission wins are not a lot, scarf hold armlocks are very high-level submissions so there is a 100% chance that Ian has a whole arsenal of submissions to show. Kelvin Gastelum has 4 wins by way of submission and they all come by way of rear-naked choke, they also all came when Gastelum was competing in the welterweight division. The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner is a black belt in jiu-jitsu so we definitely won’t be counting out his ability to pull off submissions out of nowhere. Either way, this matchup is going to be a showcase for these fighter’s skills and will definitely put one of them in the title picture.
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