Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweightsand collided in search of a title shot last night (Sat., Jan. 31, 2015) at inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Gastelum had proven prior to this bout that he possesses gigantic potential, but his struggle with making weight hindered him once again here. Still, the young fighter looked to move past his disastrous weight cut, as well as his dangerous opponent.
Woodley -- despite looking like a statue, as usual -- hit the weight limit and was ready to go. "The Chosen One" was still not in the clear from his poor performance against, so he attempted to give fans something else to think of him by.
It wasn't perfect, but "T-Wood" earned the victory.
Neither man threw many strikes for much of the first round. Gastelum stalked his opponent, while Woodley circled the Octagon. Every once in a while, either man would look to step in with a combination or power punch, but it did not connect cleanly.
The pace quickened a bit with around a minute left in the round. There were still no major connections, which may have meant the round went to Gastelum simply for controlling the center of the Octagon. Regardless, neither man made a strong claim in the opening frame.
Gastelum continued his pressuring strategy into the second round, as each man slowly opened up. At first, Gastelum seemed to be finding his range, but Woodley turned that around in the middle of the second.
It started with a nice body kick from "The Chosen One." Then, Woodley landed his patented right hand, which stunned his opponent a bit. Woodley looked to apply pressure and land combinations, but Gastelum hung tough. Still, that gave Woodley some extra confidence, which allowed him to open up with his punches and land a bit more.
Clearly, the second round went to Woodley.
Gastelum came out to start the third with a sense of urgency, throwing a quick combination. About a minute in, Gastelum's renewed pressure began paying off, as Gastelum landed some nice combinations with his opponent pressed against the fence. Additionally, Woodley's habit of hanging back and doing little when being pressed against the fence made an appearance.
Though Gastelum kept the pressure on his opponent till the end of the fight, he wasn't able to landing anything dramatic. However, his volume and pressure almost certainly earned Gastelum the final frame.
In the end, two of the three judges gave the bout to Woodley.
Woodley did not show a whole lot that fans haven't seen before in this fight. He's incredibly athletic and has a dynamic right hand, but he doesn't mix up his offense all that much. The few times he did throw kicks, they were very effective, so it's not like he's without the necessary tools.
Additionally, Woodley continues to simply wait when pressed against the fence. That's already a bad position, but it's even worse since his opponent knows Woodley won't throw anything from there, outside of maybe a rare right hand.
On a side note, credit to Woodley for not taking the percentage of Gastelum's purse. Though Gastelum's fine was certainly deserved, that's a classy and genuine move from "T-wood."
In Woodley's next bout, he should face off with the next available top 10 welterweight, whomever that might be. The division is pretty crowded right now, so Woodley should stay ready to capitalize on any injuries.
Gastelum absolutely has to get his weight problem under control. He was a hair away from winning this bout and just a touch more activity inside the first likely would have earned him the decision, but none of that matters if Gastelum is forced up to middleweight.
To put it simply, Gastelum is a serious title contender at welterweight. If he's forced to move up a weight class, he might not even break the Top 15.
At UFC 183, Tyron Woodley scraped past his opponent for a split decision victory. Can Woodley ever make his way to UFC gold?
For complete UFC 183 "Silva vs Diaz" results and play-by-play click HERE.