Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

The Ultimate Fighter 17 Episode Five Preview: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Bubba McDaniel

I’ve been saying that I got the impression that Team Sonnen knew what it was doing, and Team Jones didn’t. After last week’s episode, I take it back a little bit with Team Jones. They did a nice job of preparing Collin Hart to take on Kevin Casey, and followed that up with a nice fight pick – more on that a bit later.

With that said, Casey put on a uniquely uninspiring performance against Hart. Hart did a nice job of landing a takedown off the opening bell, but when he did, my immediate thought was: “OK, now we get to see what Casey is made of on the ground.” But Casey just wasn’t active at all. By the time Casey got back to his feet, it appeared he was already fading, and while he did get the better of Hart in the few standing exchanges that took place, it just wasn’t nearly enough.

One of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is energy expenditure. The idea is that a good Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter will allow his opponent to waste energy on inefficient techniques, and when the opponent is exhausted, the submission will come soon afterwards. Because Casey has such a muscled physique, he simply doesn’t have the build of a fighter ready to go even two five-minute rounds. As a result, when the fight against Hart went into round two, and Casey needed to make something happen, he just wasn’t able to.

So it was a nice upset win for Collin Hart, who showed that he does have the wrestling to at least be a threat on the show. I still highly doubt that Hart will make it too deep into the tournament, but nobody can be counted out completely.

Here are my TUF 17 fighter rankings:

  1. Zak Cummings – 8.022 (Team Sonnen)
  2. Uriah Hall – 7.383 (Sonnen)
  3. Tor Troeng – 7.348 (Sonnen)
  4. Luke Barnatt – 7.127 (Sonnen)
  5. Josh Samman – 7.009 (Jones)
  6. Dylan Andrews – 6.532 (Jones)
  7. Robert McDaniel – 6.421 (Jones)
  8. Kevin Casey – 6.234 (Sonnen)
  9. Clint Hester – 5.995 (Jones)
  10. Gilbert Smith – 5.917 (Jones)
  11. Jimmy Quinlan – 5.893 (Sonnen)
  12. Kelvin Gastelum – 5.655 (Sonnen)
  13. Adam Cella – 5.428 (Jones)
  14. Collin Hart – 5.154 (Jones)

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Robert “Bubba” McDaniel

Instead of being down 3-0, like I thought would happen, Team Jones is now down 2-1, and will probably tie things up 2-2 after this fight. But Gastelum is not somebody to just dismiss – he’s a good wrestler who has the potential to take Bubba McDaniel to the ground and stifle him. He also hits reasonably hard, and one thing that has haunted McDaniel in the past is that he has been stopped by one-strike TKO multiple times.

But this really is McDaniel’s fight to lose. He profiles as the type of fighter who has a lower ceiling, but has made the most out of his talents. McDaniel is a grinding kind of fighter who is at least somewhat skilled in all areas, and just as Gastelum has the potential to take McDaniel down, McDaniel could do the same thing to Gastelum. The difference is that McDaniel figures to be the better striker and grappler as well.

My model gives McDaniel a 68 percent chance to win this fight, and this is the first time I’ve felt that it wasn’t overestimating a fighter’s chances of victory. Even Chael Sonnen admitted that McDaniel is the favorite to win this one. We’ll find out what happens tonight.

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5 responses to “The Ultimate Fighter 17 Episode Five Preview: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Bubba McDaniel

  1. Nick February 19, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    Watch Gastelum win tonight… long live the underdogs.

  2. Howard February 20, 2013 at 11:45 am

    I would like to read your opinion on upcoming big fights and the state of Frankie Edgar.

  3. Howard February 20, 2013 at 11:48 am

    ……..Mousasi v. Gustafsson
    Aldo v. Pettis
    JDS v. Overeem
    Cruz v. Barao
    Teixera v. Bader

    • David Williams February 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm

      Here are my quick and relatively unresearched thoughts:

      Mousasi vs. Gustafsson: I think Gustafsson can keep the fight standing and out-point Mousasi, but it’s very competitive

      Aldo vs. Pettis: Aldo’s fight to lose. As skilled a kickboxer as Pettis is, I think Aldo is better at it.

      JDS vs. Overeem: Overeem might be the better K-1 kickboxer, but JDS is the better MMA striker. I expect JDS to get the better of Overeem standing and win by TKO.

      Cruz vs. Barao: If the Barao that fought McDonald shows up, Cruz probably wins on points easily like usual. If the best Barao shows up, then I slightly favor Cruz, but it’s a fight that could go either way.

      Teixeira vs. Bader: There’s always a chance Bader lands a KO shot, but otherwise, I think Teixeira’s the more effective and dangerous striker, and has the wrestling to keep the fight standing.

      Frankie Edgar: Becomes a high-level gatekeeper in the interim. The UFC likes him, so another title shot in the future isn’t out of the question, but he probably needs to win another few fights first.

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