UFC Ultimate Fight Night 27 is set to go down in Indianapolis this coming Wednesday, headlined by Condit vs. Kampmann 2, and bolstered by a pretty solid line up of decent fights.
Among those decent fights is Brad Tavares vs. Bubba McDaniel, Court McGee vs. Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum vs. Brian Melancon. Out of those three fights on the main card, five of the competitors are former TUF competitors. Court McGee won season 11, Robert Whittaker won the Welterweight Tourney in TUF: Smashes, and Kelvin Gastelum won the most recent instalment of the MMA reality show.
Which of these TUF veterans can make the best impression at UFN 27? After all, Michael Bisping, Chris Leben, Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian are all TUF contestants who have gone on to lead long UFC careers. Wednesday’s fights are to decide these guys’ futures in MMA.
There is only one undefeated prospect among this bunch, and that is Gastelum. 6-0 as a pro, 10-0 if you include TUF fights, and making his Welterweight debut against a game Melancon. The pressure is well and truly on KG.
Bubba, Whittaker, McGee and Brad Tavares are all good fighters, but in my opinion that is as far as it goes. I’d say that McDaniel, Tavares and McGee will be victorious on Wednesday, but Gastelum could stand to make the biggest benefit.
If KG can get an impressive win against Melancon, he will surely get a much bigger name in his next scrap. He could go from an Ultimate Fighter Contestant to a title challenger within 18 months. Something that only Bubba McDaniel could possibly achieve, but probably won’t.
The risk-benefit system that most fighters have to consider is a very delicate task, go too crazy in there and you will probably get sparked, don’t try hard enough? Forget about it. We’ve seen how Gastelum can handle pressure recently.
In the lead up to TUF 17 finale Uriah Hall was hyped as Michael Jackson’s Ninja cousin (or something), and most people had never even heard of Gastelum. It’s funny how things pan out in the world of MMA.
Gastelum has the biggest opportunity ahead of him, and I think he can capitalize on it. He has heavy hands, good wrestling and great conditioning. The Welterweight division is full of talent, so he needs to make a statement against Melancon.