UFC 180 Fight Breakdown: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Jake Ellenberger

jake-ellenberger The co-main event of UFC 180 is a three-round welterweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Jake Ellenberger. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Gastelum is a -250 favorite (bet $250 to win $100) while Ellenberger is a +190 underdog (bet $100 to win $190). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Gastelum at -155 and Ellenberger at +115, and so far all the action has been on the favorite Gastelum. This is a spot where I do favor Gastelum to win, but I don’t see any value in the current odds. Here’s why. Gastelum (9-0) won TUF 17, the youngest ever winner of The Ultimate Fighter in the history of the show. He is now 23 years old, and the Mexican-American has a very bright future ahead of him. He is 9-0 in his MMA career and 4-0 in the UFC with wins over Uriah Hall, Nico Musoke, Rick Story and Brian Melancon. He is an extremely well-rounded fighter with good wrestling, ground and pound, power in his hands and great submission ability on the ground. He excels in the transitions as well, which makes him incredibly dangerous in this sport. I think Gastelum has championship-level potential, but I do have some concerns about him. Against Musoke, he missed weight, and didn’t look great in that fight even though he won. He also barely beat Story, and in that fight his chin and submission defence were tested. No doubt Gastelum is a great prospect, but until he has a star-making performance against a high-level 170lber, it’s hard to lay so much juice on him, especially against a guy like Ellenberger who has so much power in his hands, and to be honest I’m surprised by the current odds for this fight. Ellenberger (29-8) was emerging as one of the premier welterweights in MMA but with losses in three of his last five fights he needs to turn things around quickly if he wants to save his career. The 30-year-old American is a wrestler/boxer with tons of power in his fists. In his career he has 18 wins by knockout, and in every fight he has he’s a threat to win by KO. In his UFC career he is 8-4 with wins over Nate Marquardt, Jay Hieron, Diego Sanchez, Jake Shields, Mike Pyle, John Howard, Carlos Eduardo Rocha and Sean Pierson, and his lone losses have come to the cream of the crop in Rory MacDonald, Robbie Lawler, Carlos Condit and Martin Kampann. In his losses he showed poor cardio and also inactivity. He is one of those fighters who is super dangerous in the first round, but who tires as the fight drags on, which is dangerous against a guy who can go three hard rounds like Gastelum can. Ellenberger is probably being a bit undervalued coming into this fight due to his last two losses, and it makes sense as he looked terrible in those fights. But the guy is still extremely powerful and it’s hard to lay juice against him, and I think this line against Gastelum is getting out of hand. I believe Gastelum is the better all-around mixed martial artist and I do lean towards him getting the job done here, but at -250 I just don’t see any value in him. We haven’t really seen Gastelum tested by a solid wrestler/boxer type, which is what Ellenberger is, and it’s possible “The Juggernaut” could end up being a bad matchup for Gastelum. The problem with Ellenberger is that he’s looked so shy and timid in his last few fights ever since his KO loss to Kampmann, and if he isn’t active in this fight he will lose. It’s hard to trust Ellenberger, but at the current odds the value is likely on him. My pick is Gastelum, but there is no way I would lay the juice on him in this fight.

Written by Adam Martin.

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