Welcome to the UFC: John Castaneda

John Castaneda
John Castaneda Credit: Combate Americas

Fight Island is about to be in the rear view mirror. The UFC departs those shores after this weekend, but first, UFC Fight Island 3 goes down. The card is headlined by a pair of middleweight contenders in former champ Robert Whittaker taking on Darren Till. Plus, Shogun Rua vs. Antônio Rogério Nogueira and Fabrício Werdum vs. Alexander Gustafsson. Also on the card is Contender Series alum John Castaneda. John will be making his octagon debut against Nathaniel Wood (16-4 MMA, 3-1 UFC).

John “Sexi Mexi” Castaneda
Mankato Martial Arts
Mankato, Minnesota, US
6 Submissions

How will Castaneda fare in the UFC:

John Castaneda is a fighter that’s always going to be in the fight. Always someone who will be dangerous. He’s got a good gas tank, getting better as the fight goes on. In fact he’s something of a slow starter.

On the feet he has a few good tendencies such as a straight jab, leg kicks, and a sneaky head kick he has landed in a few of his fights. His grappling is his strong and by far where he is at his best. Castaneda thrives in scrambles being very quick to jump on the back and transition in the blink of an eye. He is a submission threat, attacking the neck and staying aggressive, bettering his position.

Castaneda is a talented fighter but has issues putting it all together at times. He throws low output not usually throwing more than one strike at a time. While his grappling is good his wrestling isn’t on the same level. He times his entrances well but has trouble following through and completing the takedown. I don’t expect Castaneda to fare too well in the UFC.

How he matches up with Wood:

Wood is a tough opponent to make your debut against as he has four fights in the UFC, and in the last five years his lone loss is to John Dodson. Unlike Castaneda, Wood can put it together as he’s very dangerous on the feet and on the mat. Wood’s three UFC wins are by submission against Johnny Eduardo, Andre Ewell, and Jose Alberto Quinones. If the fight does hit the mat I’d imagine Castaneda would be in the lead as he’s way more versed grappling than the three fighters listed. On the feet, Wood is far more technical and while he’s shown to have a questionable chin, I would be confident saying Castaneda isn’t the guy to test it. I’m taking Wood because he’s far more active and has that UFC experience. Even if the fight hits the mat, Wood can definitely hold his own.