Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight talents Gregor Gillespie and Yancy Medeiros will go to war this Saturday (Jan. 19, 2019) at UFC Fight Night 143 inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
In just about any other division, a perfect (5-0) start with four finishes would be enough to gain real momentum. Hell, a win streak like that probably earns a title shot at Heavyweight. At 155 pounds, however, Gillespie is just now beginning to break through into the ranks of “known” fighters. One of the sport’s brightest prospects, Gillespie already seems ready for Top 5 competition. Medeiros is a solid step up in competition for Gillespie. The Hawaiian is an all-action fighter himself, having won three of his previous four at 170 pounds. Interestingly, Medeiros will return to Lightweight for this fight despite that success, which saw him break into the Top 15 after a “Fight of the Year”-worthy victory over Alex Oliveira.
Let’s take a closer look at the keys to victory for each man:
Key Wins: Vinc Pichel (UFC Fight Night 131), Jason Gonzalez (UFC Fight Night 116), Andrew Holbrook (UFC 210), Glaico Franca (UFC Fight Night 95)
Key Losses: None
Keys to Victory: Despite his absurd credentials as a four-time Division 1 All-American and National Champion collegiate wrestler, Gillespie’s best asset is likely his pace. A smaller Lightweight who still packs power in his hands (and obviously a formidable wrestling game), Gillespie pushes forward and forces the fight at a ridiculous rate, causing opponents to fatigue and fall behind quickly.
Gillespie’s reliance on high-activity means he is there to be hit at times. Medeiros makes for an interesting challenge for Gillespie because of his defensive issues: the Hawaiian has serious, rangy power and generally uses his own conditioning as a weapon. Simply put, Medeiros will make it a fight.
Luckily, Medeiros has his own defensive flaws. Closing the distance before throwing will be important, but Gillespie can always use a double leg shot to either score a takedown or find himself in range to land when it fails. Once in the pocket, Gillespie will be able to land hard like many of Medeiros’ past opponents.
Unlike some past foes, Gillespie is unlikely to gas in pursuit of the finish.
Key Wins: Alex Oliveira (UFC 218), Erick Silva (UFC 212), Sean Spencer (UFC 203), John Makdessi (UFC 194)
Key Losses: Donald Cerrone (UFC Fight Night 126), Francisco Trinaldo (UFC 198), Dustin Poirier (UFC Fight Night 68)
Keys to Victory: Medeiros is a proud member of the long line of scrappers from Hawaii. At 155 pounds, he’s particularly long and rangy while still holding plenty of power in his fists. In addition, Medeiros is historically quite difficult to take down.
Medeiros has many of the traits one would look for in picking a fighter to dispatch Gillespie. Knockout power, range and the ability to use it, a great gas tank, and sound defensive wrestling will all serve Medeiros well here. In both this fight and his career, the problems arise when Medeiros forgets his defense in the pursuit of hurting his opponent.
Staying disciplined and defensively sound is absolutely the key to victory for Medeiros here. If he picks and chooses when to engage, backs away from the pocket, and forces Gillespie to move through counter shots, Medeiros has a great chance at scoring the upset. If he tries to hurt Gillespie from the beginning or immediately after Gillespie first tags him, Medeiros is setting himself up for a rough night.
Bottom Line: Gillespie is one of the division’s best up-and-comers, and Medeiros has never been in a boring fight.
It’s not quite the step up Gillespie was probably hoping for, but Medeiros is a considerable increase in competition from Vinc Pichel, and this is a reasonably high-profile event. If Gillespie goes to war with Medeiros and drowns him in offense like his previous opponents, the result will be a highly entertaining, important victory for “The Gift” that should see him receive a Top 10-ranked opponent next.
At this point in his career, Medeiros is pretty firmly placed in the role of high-level action fighter, able to score some important wins, but coming up short in other big fights. Facing a top-notch prospect like Gillespie is an opportunity for Medeiros as well, as handing Gillespie his first career loss would be a significant accomplishment. It’s the type of win that would potentially see Medeiros look up the ranks in his next fight, rather than face another foe in a similar position to himself.
At UFC Fight Night 143, Gregor Gillespie and Yancy Medeiros will duel. Which man will remain standing when the dust settles?