UFC on Fox 13 Newcomer Breakdown – Willie Gates

willie-gates-02Prior to each UFC card, Jay Primetown takes a close look at debuting fighters. In the latest installment, we look at flyweight Willie Gates as he takes on former title challenger John Moraga at UFC on Fox 14. Willie “Whoopass” Gates Hometown: Fontana, California Age: 27 Height: 5’8” Weight Class: Flyweight Camp: Millennia MMA Career Record: 11-4 Key Wins: Hector Sandoval Key Losses: None Background The California based flyweight has fought mainly on the California regional mainly at Gladiator Challenge and most recently with Tachi Palace Fights. Gates has been very active in 2014 having fought five times already. He last fought in November beating Team Alpha Male prospect Hector Sandoval. He will make his UFC debut just six weeks after that win. Strengths

  • One of, if not, the biggest flyweight on the UFC roster
  • Very good athlete
  • Decent range striker
  • Uses a lot of kicks; excellent front kick
  • Dangerous power for someone in this weight class


  • Entering UFC debut on short notice
  • Can get to aggressive on the feet putting himself in bad positions
  • When forced to fight in close quarters, he struggles
  • Takedown defense needs work
  • Susceptible to submissions

00WilleGatesGrade   Matchup with John Moraga This is an excellent matchup that has really gone under the radar. Moraga is tough as nails and has fought the best of what the flyweight division has to offer. Moraga has had his biggest struggles in the division against high end grapplers. In this matchup, he won’t have to worry about that. Both fighters prefer to strike. Gates is better at range, while Moraga is better at close range. Expect a close fight on the feet. Where the biggest difference lies is in the submission game. Moraga holds a variety of submissions and has beaten high level opponents in surprising fashion with his submission ability. Gates has had his biggest struggles against fighters who can pressure him with submission attempts. Moraga has found chokes with very little opportunity. He doesn’t need a big window to lock in the attempt and get his opponent to tap out. I expect the same to happen here. Look for Moraga to pick up another submission win. UFC Ceiling Willie Gates is yet another exciting addition to the UFC’s flyweight division. The biggest takeaway from Gates is his size and athleticism. His raw physical attributes are very close, if not at the top of the division. He’s very physically imposing for the division and can compete right away due to those attributes. Skill wise he’s a pretty good striker with good power, but in what is increasingly becoming a grappler heavy division, he needs to make improvements. His defensive grappling and submission game need to improve significantly for him to be a top ten fighter in the weightclass. At the very least he’s an entertaining fighter with real upside. Fight Film Check out Willie Gates in some of his recent fights: Willie Gates vs. Hector Sandoval

Willie Gates vs. Anthony Perales

Written by Jay Primetown

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