UFC Fight Night 78 preview: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Neil Magny

Kelvin GastelumNow we’re on to the main event with our previews for UFC Fight Night 78 taking place Nov. 21 in Monterrey, Mexico. The card is headlined with a welterweight match-up between Kevlin Gastelum (11-1) and Neil Magny (16-4). Gastelum was originally slated to fight Matt Brown on the card but he had to withdraw due to injury, and Magny stepped in.

This is a return to the 170-pound division for Gastelum and he has a history of trouble making weight. We’ll see how the weight cut plays into the fight. He fought his last fight at 185-pounds on orders from the UFC, and looked great. He stopped Nate Marquardt via TKO in the second round. That fight was in June.

Prior to that, the TUF 17 winner had a 10-fight unbeaten streak snapped by Tyron Woodley via split decision. The fight was supposed to be fought at 170-pounds, but due to Gastelum’s weight-cutting problems, the bout went off at a 180-pound catchweight.  The 24-year-old Yuma, Ariz. fighter has won 4 of his fights by knockout, 4 by submission, and 3 of his wins have come decision. Gastelum brings great wrestling and heavy hands to the table against Magny, and his 10th Planet BJJ is ever-improving.

The first thing that needs to be pointed out about Magny is how often this guy fights. Five times last year, and this will be his fifth fight this year. He tied the UFC record for most wins in a calendar year in 2014 with five. He’s gone 3-1 so far in 2015, most recently winning a split decision over Erick Silva in late August. Three weeks earlier Demian Maia had ended Magny’s seven-fight winning streak with a submission, setting back his title shot hopes.

At 6-foot-3-inches, Magny is a much taller and rangier fighter than Gastelum. With 5 of his 16 wins coming by way of knockout, Magny is capable of stopping the fight with strikes, and he does a good job using his reach advantage. He does have 3 wins by submission, but most of his wins have been by decision, as he is also a very good wrestler, and that aspect of the fight should determine the winner. Oddsmakers have Gastelum the favorite at -295, with Magny coming in at +265.

PREDICTION: Gastelum via decision