UFC Austin Clash: Brady Vs. Gastelum!

MMA News

UFC Austin Clash: Brady Vs. Gastelum!

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Welterweight sluggers Sean Brady and Kelvin Gastelum will go to war this weekend (Sat., Dec. 2, 2023) at UFC Austin inside Moody Center in Austin, Texas.


That’s the big question ahead of Gastelum’s return to 170 lbs., his first drop to Welterweight since July 2016. That’s a lifetime in combat sports, yet Gastelum is still just 32 years old. He’s missed weight so many times, but if done properly, there’s no reason Gastelum cannot drop back down and make an impact at what should be his home weight class.

Brady, conversely, is looking to rebound from his first career defeat, an upset at the hands of Belal Muhammad. Prior to that defeat, Brady was one of the hottest up-and-coming contenders in the division, and he’s looking to regain that status with a strong performance.

Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:

UFC 259: Brady v Matthews

Sean Brady

Record: 15-1
Key Wins: Michael Chiesa (UFC Vegas 43), Jake Matthews (UFC 259), Ismail Naurdiev (UFC Fight Night 169), Court McGee (UFC on ESPN 6)
Key Losses: Belal Muhammad (UFC 280)
Keys to Victory: Brady is an expert grappler with some impressive counter punching. His loss to Muhammad showed some inexperience in managing his pace against top-notch opposition, but there’s still reason to believe he can make his way back to the title mix.

In this bout, Brady has to get the wrestling going. Gastelum has strong first layer takedown defense, that ability to just bounce shots off his waist. When forced to chain wrestle, however, fights like Chris Weidman or even Neil Magny were able to find success in dragging Gastelum to the floor.

The key then is well-timed shots. If Brady can enter well, he can work through that initial layer and get multiple attempts to floor Gastelum going. In addition, chain wrestling is exhausting, and Gastelum might end up feeling the effects of that weight cut if forced to deny many attempts.

Perhaps Brady can put his cardiovascular improvements on display?

MMA: APR 08 UFC 287
Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Kelvin Gastelum

Record: 17-8 (1)
Key Wins: Ronaldo Souza (UFC 224), Michael Bisping (UFC on FOX 27), Johny Hendricks (UFC 200), Tim Kennedy (UFC 206), Rick Story (UFC 171), Chris Curtis (UFC 287)
Key Losses: Israel Adesanya (UFC 236), Robert Whittaker (UFC Vegas 24), Darren Till (UFC 244), Jack Hermansson (UFC Fight Night 172), Jared Cannonier (UFC Vegas 34)
Keys to Victory: Gastelum is a gifted natural fighter. His game has never been that complicated, but quality wrestling, athleticism, and an accurate 1-2 have taken him to the elite ranks in two divisions.

If he wants a title, however, Welterweight is his best bet.

Assuming Gastelum can indeed maintain his discipline and make 170 pounds in a reasonably healthy manner, this is a great match up for him! At both Welterweight and Middleweight, Gastelum made a habit of pummeling men who wanted to take him down, even if that was more challenging against the bigger and stronger opponents at 185 lbs.

Brady’s boxing has some crispness, but he’s nowhere near as battle-hardened as Gastelum. If Gastelum keeps his feet moving, feints well, and mixes in a couple body shots, it feels like only a matter of time until his piston of a left hand finds the chin.

Bottom Line

This banger could be the main event under different circumstances.

Brady really has to win here if he’s to remain a contender. Belal Muhammad is really good, but it was a bit of an ugly loss, and none of Brady’s previous wins can truly be considered elite in 2023. Sending Gastelum back to 185 would be a statement from Brady, and it should set him up for another big fight in his next appearance.

The stakes are massively high for Gastelum as well. If he’s to keep his championship dreams alive, he has to make weight and win. Suddenly, he’s back in the Top 10 against men of a similar stature with some momentum behind him. This is Gastelum’s last shot at really living up to his potential, and it’s up to him to make the most of it.

At UFC Austin, Sean Brady and Kelvin Gastelum will square off. Which man earns the victory?