First and Worst: Week of November 17 – November 23, 2014

By Adam Martin

First and Worst is an ongoing series for, where every week Adam will make his pick for the best and worst newly-announced fight of the past week (Monday to Sunday). If you’d like to see any additions to this series, hit him up on Twitter @MMAdamMartin.

First: Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tyron Woodley, UFC 183

My pick for the best new fight announced this past week is the upcoming welterweight bout between top-10 fighters Kelvin Gastelum and Tyron Woodley, which is set for UFC 183. The event takes place January 31 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Gastelum vs. Woodley will serve as the co-main event underneath the headliner of Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz.

This is the perfect matchup to make in the UFC welterweight division at the moment, and the winner of this fight could potentially be the next title contender following Rory MacDonald, who takes on the winner of UFC 181‘s Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler. Woodley is coming off of the impressive first-round knockout of Dong Hyun Kim that put him right back in the title mix following his lopsided decision loss to MacDonald at UFC 174, while Gastelum, the TUF 17 winner, is currently riding an impressive five-fight win streak in the UFC, including the first-round submission win over Jake Ellenberger at UFC 180 that vaulted him into the division’s top 10. Gastelum is deserving of the opportunity to fight a top guy like Woodley, and should he win this bout, he should be on the shortlist of title contenders at 170 lbs. Similarly, for Woodley, a win over an undefeated rising star like Gastelum would solidify his place as a top dog in the division.

As far as the matchup itself goes, it’s a tough one to call. Woodley obviously has brutal one-punch KO power, but Gastelum has shown a good chin so far in his career, and at 23 years of age his chin is still fresh and able to take a punch. Woodley is obviously the more accomplished wrestler, but Gastelum has excellent wrestling himself, and if he can keep this fight standing, evade Woodley’s bombs, and take this fight into the later rounds, he should have the cardio edge and could possibly edge out a decision. Heck, he might even finish Woodley once “The Chosen One” gasses.

All in all, it’s an intriguing, fun fight, and it makes UFC 183 look that much better on paper.

UFC 183

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tyron Woodley

Click the stars to rate your anticipation for this fight.

Worst: Josh Koscheck vs. Neil Magny, UFC 184

My pick for the worst new fight announced this past week is the upcoming welterweight bout at UFC 184 between Josh Koscheck and Neil Magny. The card takes place on February 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, and the fight between these two is expected to be placed on the main card.

I really, really don’t understand this matchup at all. Koscheck was one of the top welterweights in the UFC for a long time, but he hasn’t fought in over a year and has losses in his last three fights. He was competitive against current UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks when the two fought, and arguably should have been given that decision, but that fight was nearly three years ago, and since then the only thing Kos has done was get knocked out by Robbie Lawler and Tyron Woodley in devastating fashion. Obviously those are two of the top five welterweights in the division, but still, Kos looked terrible in those fights, and I honestly thought he had retired before hearing this fight was announced. I guess he needs the money and has to fight, but I just don’t see this ending well for him.

As for Magny, he’s on a five-fight win streak, so it’s really weird for the UFC to match him up with a guy on a three-fight losing skid. I actually don’t understand that at all. There are plenty of welterweights in the UFC who the promotion could have matched him up with, but instead they chose a guy who isn’t anywhere near the top of his game anymore. I think Magny has flaws in his game, and he may very well get outwrestled by Koscheck here, but based on merit alone he really did deserve a higher-ranked opponent than the one the UFC is giving him.

Facing a guy like Koscheck, at least as far as name value goes, is obviously a huge step up for Magny, and it would be the biggest win of his career, but it just doesn’t seem relevant to me. I would have rather the UFC matched up Magny with someone who is active and coming off of a win like Rick Story or Ryan LaFlare than a semi-retired fighter on a losing streak who is on the verge of turning 37. It’s just a really weird fight, and I don’t like it. I’m secretly hoping that one of these guys is forced to pull out of the fight for whatever reason, so the UFC can make another fight.

UFC 184

Josh Koscheck vs. Neil Magny

Click the stars to rate your anticipation for this fight.


UFC 183: Silva vs. Diaz is due to take place on January 31, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 183 will be.

UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano (formerly UFC 184: Weidman vs. Belfort) is due to take place on February 28, 2015 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Click the stars to rate how good you think UFC 184 will be.

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