Rothwell (32-8) is coming off a KO win over Brendan Schaub in his last outing at UFC 145. Rothwell is (2-2) since joining the UFC roster, alternating wins and losses since 2009. He has 18 wins via TKO/KO and 11 wins via submission in his career that began in 2001. He’s still relatively young at 31 years of age, and seems to have a new confidence after his latest victory in the octagon.
Gonzaga (13-6) is coming off a submission win over Ednaldo Oliveira in his last outing at UFC 142. Gonzaga has won back-to-back fights since losing back-to-back fights in the UFC, but one of those win came outside of the UFC. Gonzaga has won five fights via TKO/KO and eight fights via submission.
This fight is a solid matchup for a heavyweight fight. Rothwell is the larger fighter in both weigh and height and will also enjoy a four inch reach advantage. Rothwell is versed on the ground but prefers to keep fights standing and dish out punishment in that fashion. Gonzaga is content with striking on the feet as well, but will look to get the fight to the ground more than Rothwell. Both fighters have above average takedown defense which favors Rothwell.
I’m sure we’ll see Rothwell trying to use his size and reach advantage in this fight. He can choose to strike from range or use his size and put Gonzaga against the cage after closing the distance with a flurry of punches. Gonzaga has some very solid kicks in his arsenal, and he’ll probably throw a steady diet of them to help negate the range of Rothwell. However, at some point we’ll probably see Gonzaga shoot for the takedown if he’s having limited success striking. That’ll be the key to the entire fight for him. If he’s able to get Rothwell down Gonzaga should have the advantage there, and Rothwell has been submitted once in his MMA career via kimura. Also, Rothwell looked great in his last fight but I’m interested to see what his cardio looks like should the fight get out of the first round. His cardio against Mark Hunt at UFC 135 was atrocious, and a tired Rothwell would definitely be in trouble later in the fight as Gonzaga has proven to have decent cardio has a heavyweight.
Gonzaga has been knocked out in five of his six losses, and Rothwell certainly has the power to put him away. All in all, I think Rothwell takes this fight via TKO, but Gonzaga could edge him late in the fight if Rothwell isn’t in shape.
Stay tuned to ProMMAnow (www.prommanow.com) for more UFC on FX 7 fight analysis this week.