Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight prospects Gregor Gillespie and Jordan Rinaldi threw down last night (Jan. 27, 2018) at UFC on FOX 27 inside Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
A four-time All-American and National Champion wrestler, Gillespie’s signing should have been met with greater excitement. However, there are a lot of excellent Lightweight prospects, so it’s understandable why Gillespie flew under the radar. After three fights, two finishes, and one wild brawl, however, Gillespie found himself on the main card with all eyes on him.
Looking to upset the decorated wrestler was Rinaldi, a fellow recent Lightweight addition and prospect. A large fighter with some tricky submissions, Rinaldo was hoping to catch his less experienced foe and earn some momentum of his own.
It didn’t take long for either man to start firing heavy shots, as Rinaldi bounced forward with hooks and head movement. Gillespie walked his foe down and fired combinations, but each man did a good job of keeping his hands high and avoiding anything too major.
Gillespie’s first single leg attempt came up short, but the wrestler finished another moments later. Once on top, Gillespie quickly advanced through the guard, smothering his foe and transitioning between positions. Gillespie threatened with multiple submissions but eventually landed in the back mount, flattening his opponent out. From that position, Gillespie hipped in and postured, dropping nasty ground strikes on an opponent unable to move.
It was violent, and the referee was forced to call a stop to the bout in the final 30 seconds of the first round.
This was a nearly flawless performance from Gillespie. His hands looked tight and powerful early on, but once Gillespie transitioned into the takedown he was completely dominant. From top position, he gave his opponent no space to move, and each attempt to create that space saw Gillespie advance into an even more dominant position.
In addition, it was great to see Gillespie attacking so often with submissions. He never sacrificed position in attempt to finish, but he used the guillotine and arm triangle to threaten Rinaldi and force him to flatten out. It led him to the eventual back control position that allowed him to finish, and it made his top control offence dual-pronged.
Gillespie could probably beat up top 15 opponents already, but it’s a bit early for that. Instead, he should receive a reasonable step up in competition, someone like the preliminary headline winner Bobby Green.
Rinaldi came in with a smart game plan, looking to catch Gillespie with sudden power shots and tricky kicks. It was working reasonably well and saw him in some even exchanges, but the wrestling differential was too wide. Rinaldi did a great job of defending the first single leg, but against the well-timed second shot, Rinaldi had little chance of stopping his foe.
Despite his submission victories, Rinaldi is not a bottom player. He had no answer to Gillespie’s insane top pressure and excellent transitions, leaving him to rely on his toughness instead, which only lasts so long against dominant positions.
Last night, Gregor Gillespie continued his rise with a dominant victory. Is Gillespie a future champion?
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