Jack Hermansson wants to finish Gastelum to return to the title race

UFC Middleweight Jack Hermansson (20-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is now finishing preparations for one of the biggest contests in his career against former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum (15-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC), with which the Swede-Norwegian fighter will split the octagon on July 18 on Yas Island (Abu Dhabi).

This is one of the key confrontations in the middle division, but because Hermansson is well aware that a bright victory will allow him to return to the race behind the belt.

In an interview with MMA Junkie Hermansson declared that he really would like to gain a phenomenal victory because his goal is the title and that’s what he wants: “For this, I work every day. A bright victory could open people’s eyes. I want people to crave me. I want the fans to scream about how much they want to see my fight. I hope I’m able to do this. I’m going to create a situation that will allow me to finish. Kelvin is hard to stop, but it would be impressive if I could do it.”

The planning of the fight

Ex-UFC contender for the middleweight title will meet with Jack Hermansson at the UFC tournament, which will be held on July 18. It was announced this year at the beginning of June. 

The winner of the 17th season of the popular The Ultimate Fighter show, Gastelum (15-5 MMA, 10-5 UFC) held his last fight in November last year at the co-main event of UFC 244 in New York. His opponent was the British Darren Till, to whom Gastelum lost a split decision of the judges.

Before that, he lost to the champion Israel Adesanya – also by the decision of the judges. The fight turned out to be one of the most spectacular in 2019. Gastelum currently ranks 7th in the UFC Middleweights ranking.

Meanwhile, Hermansson (20-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will also seek victory. At the UFC tournament in Copenhagen last September, the 31-year-old Hermansson lost to Jared Cannonier with a technical knockout. Before losing, Hermansson led a winning streak of 4 fights. He currently ranks 6th in the UFC middleweight ranking.

Hermansson who actually moved from Sweden to Norway at the age of 18 has become a very popular figure in the latter. Norway is most definitely a lot more populous when it comes to MMA fighters compared to Sweden, but that doesn’t really give it an edge in competitiveness. Despite this lack of attention from the local fan base, there are still multiple projects that the local MMA administration tries to kickstart almost every single year. In most cases, the ministry of sports is not very interested in MMA, which forces these sports “clubs” to find financial aid through other means.

Considering that the UFC mostly focuses on the American side of the sport, they can’t really rely on them either. Because of this, drastic measures are sometimes taken. There have been many a case when an online gambling platform supported fighters individually. Although gambling is illegal in Norway, it’s still quite popular among the locals. According to Spinia Norway, using the brand of a popular MMA fighter in the country is one of the best ways to stand out from the bunch. Naturally, nobody really tried contacting Hermansson directly, as it’s usually up to the fighter themselves to choose a sponsor.

But thanks to these sponsors we are able to see quite a large diversity not only in UFC but local small tournaments as well.

Fighters Summary

Jack Hermansson

Hermansson made his debut in mixed martial arts on a professional level in 2010, and in 2016 he moved to the UFC. Jack is among the top 6 contenders. Before losing to Cannonier, Hermansson previously defeated Ronaldo Souza, David Branch, Gerald Meerschaert. 

The 32-year-old middleweight is an excellent fighter and is one of the best active fighters of the division in terms of the number of takedowns. If Hermansson climbs to the opponent’s mount, then this almost always means an early victory for him. There are many ways in Jack’s arsenal to move his opponent to the ground. All takedowns the sixth rating number passes through the Body Lock and further cutting. If the enemy is savvy in such positions, then Hermansson quickly adapts and creates new ones.

Separately, we note the underestimated shock technique of the Swede-Norwegian middleweight, which at first glance looks very chaotic, non-standard and hasty. Jack speeds up the pace from the first seconds of the battle and moves around the octagon a lot, throwing a huge number of punches. Despite the unusual angles and methods of striking, this works great, as the opponents do not have time to take a comfortable defensive position. Hermansson has 11 knockout victories.

Kelvin Gastelum

The American fighter made his debut in professional MMA in 2010, and in 2013 he won The Ultimate Fighter 17 tournament, defeating Uriah Hall. A few months later, Gastelum held the first match at the UFC tournament, in the welterweight limit. Kelvin fought in the welterweight until 2016. The best achievement of the 28-year-old middleweight in middleweight is a fight for the UFC interim champion title against Israel Adesanya. The American lost that fight by unanimous decision. 

Nevertheless, no one was able to easily defeat Gastelum. The American knocked out Michael Bisping, Vitor Belfort, Tim Kennedy, Jake Ellenberger, Nate Marquardt. Calvin also won the fights from the decision of judges against Ronaldo Souza, Johnny Hendricks and Rick Story. In addition to 10 early victories (6 knockouts, 4 submissions), the 28-year-old fighter has many bright knockdowns (including against Chris Weidman, from whom he suffered the only early defeat in his career).

Gastelum is a fast, explosive and powerful fighter. Kelvin does not waste his strength and starts fighting quite slowly, however, if he sees holes in the enemy’s defence, he explodes in sharp series. As a rule, the American breaks through the classic two of straight lines (from the position of a lefthander). Also in his technical repertoire, we will highlight distant uppercuts. It is amazing that the anthropometry of such a fighter is very modest: height is 175 cm, and arm span is 182 cm.

Prediction for the fight

We do not think that Gastelum is a favourite. Kelvin performs well against fighters who are not able to tightly counterattack with one punch. As a rule, the American defeated his rivals, imposing a leisurely pace. Hermansson is stylistically uncomfortable for Gastelum, for at least two reasons: excessive activity and a high level of grappling. If Jack does not run into the left straight line from Kelvin when approaching the distance, then he will easily put him to the ground. Jack Hermansson has a slight advantage in our opinion.