Kelvin Gastelum moved back down to welterweight at UFC Austin to take on grappling ace Sean Brady as both fighters sought new beginnings.
Gastelum once won a ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ tournament championship at 170-lbs but had not fought there in seven years. After an up-and-down run at middleweight, he decided to slim down and move back to the division where he began his career. Across the cage from him stood Sean Brady, a Philadelphia native who dominated with powerful wrestling and grappling en route to a 15-0 record before falling to Belal Muhammad last year. The matchup seemed fairly binary; although Gastelum has a wrestling base of his own it seemed as though he would win if he could keep it on the feet, and vice versa. In the end Sean Brady proved to be a spoiler to Gastelum’s hopes of taking the division by storm, and his grappling dominance became the sole focus of the fight.
Sean Brady immediately chased a takedown when the fight started. The pair ended up in an extended over-under clinch. From there, Brady pushed Gastelum to the fence, changed levels, and got a takedown. When the fight hit the mat Kelvin tried to turn to his knees to get up, but Brady instantly slid a hook in, then another, then a body triangle. He had more than three-and-a-half minutes to hunt a rear-naked choke if he could hold that position, but only thirty seconds later Kelvin was able to explode into him and end up on top. He landed a few shots before Brady wrestled up.
On the feet, Brady landed a short punch that dropped Kelvin to a knee, more from surprise than anything. Brady soon landed a left hook which stunned Kelvin Gastelum as Sean was already chaining it into a takedown. He again slid to the back like lightning and then got a hook in as Kelvin crawled to the fence. Kelvin was still able to create space to stand up but Brady tripped his leg out with a neat move. Again he rode Gastelum like a backpack, with one hook in against the fence before transitioning to both hooks as the ten second clapper sounded before the end of the round.
The second round began with another early takedown from Sean Brady, this time off a caught kick. He smothered Gastelum from top half-guard before transitioning to full mount ninety seconds in. When Gastelum bucked and scrambled to get up, Sean went back to his old move of taking the back, which forced Kelvin to again give up mount. This cycle repeated itself for the rest of the round, one where Brady never allowed Kelvin Gastelum back into it but action remained at a low.
Sean Brady penetrated deep with a strong double leg thirty seconds into the round and again took Gastelum down into half guard. He isolated an arm and stepped over the head of Gastelum with a slick move, locking up a submission which has become rare in modern MMA: a Kimura. Kelvin held on for as long as he could but he was soon forced to tap. The boos of the crowd for the dominant wrestling turned to cheers somewhat as fans appreciated a skillful finish.
He got the crowd back even more by shouting out the state, Texas. He then turned to business and called out undefeated striker Ian Garry, if the Irishman manages to get through Vicente Luque in his upcoming fight.