UFC 188 Fight Breakdown: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nate Marquardt

Kelvin Gastelum One of the main card bouts at UFC 188 is a three-round middleweight bout between Kelvin Gastelum and Nate Marquardt. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Gastelum is a -440 favorite (bet $440 to win $100) while Marquardt is a +350 underdog (bet $100 to win $350). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Gastelum at -405 and Marquardt at +285 and the action has come in on Gastelum so far. I agree with the long odds on Gastelum as I expect him to dominate, and probably put away, Marquardt. Here’s why. Gastelum (10-1) won TUF 17 and has since gone on to post a 5-1 record in the UFC with wins over Jake Elleberger, Uriah Hall, Rick Story, Nico Musoke and Brian Melancon, with his lone defeat a split decision loss to Tyron Woodley. Only 23 years old, the Mexican-American is constantly improving and getting better every single fight, but in his last fight against Woodley he had a screw up as he missed weight. That angered UFC president Dana White, who forced Gastelum to move to 185 until he redeems himself in the eyes of the UFC. Fortunately for Gastelum, the UFC is giving him a good matchup here in Marquardt. He will have a huge age advantage, he is a southpaw, he has better wrestling, he has better cardio, a better chin and more knockout power. All of the edges go to Gastelum in this fight, and that’s why you see him enter as a huge favorite despite his disadvantage in experience. Marquardt (33-14-2) is the former Strikeforce welterweight champion The 36-year-old American was once one of the top middleweight and welterweight fighters in the world but in recent years has really fallen off. He has lost four of his last five fights and has looked old and slow in recent fights. Having said that, he is still a dangerous fighter, as he showed in his win over James Te Huna last year. He has 25 stoppage wins his MMA career including 16 wins by submission, proving how much of a finisher he is. However, he just seems to have decline and run out of steam after a terrific career. His chin has looked a bit better since moving back to 185, but still, it’s clear he doesn’t have the same durability he once did. He looked terrible in his last fight against Brad Tavares, and now going up against a young killer in Gastelum, this seems like a really bad spot for Marquardt, and it’s not surprising he’s a big underdog heading into the fight. The UFC is setting up Gastelum to get a huge win on Mexican soil and I think he lives up to the task. Marquardt is an all-time middleweight great, but he is getting up there in age and in recent years has appeared to be a shot fighter. He can still have a surprise performance every now and then, like when he finished Te Huna and Tyron Woodley, but overall he’s just looked really bad for about three or four years now. Gastelum is still relatively new to the sport, but he’s proven himself to be a near-elite mixed martial artist at a young age, one who will continue to grow and improve with every outing. What happened at UFC 183 is behind him now, and if Gastelum is focused he has the opportunity here to dominate Marquardt, win a Performance of the Night bonus, and get back in the UFC’s good books. And that’s what I think happens here. I think Gastelum gets the job done, probably by stoppage but maybe by decision, and I don’t think it’s ever a sweat for him, or for bettors. I think Gastelum could be a much bigger favorite here, so even at over 4-to-1 I think he is a good parlay piece this weekend.

Written by Adam Martin.

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