Among the toughest forecasts for this weekend's UFC Austin card would have to be the Brady vs Gastelum prediction.
Both Sean Brady and Kelvin Gastelum have proven to be world-class fighters with iron-clad mentalities — and both will be entering the octagon well-prepared for three rounds of welterweight warfare.
While an obvious Sean Brady vs Kelvin Gastelum prediction would be to assume that this is a classic grappler vs striker matchup — considering the jiu jitsu pedigree of Brady and the striking prowess of Gastelum — each of these fighters employ much more well-rounded styles that they're usually given credit for.
What's for certain is that both of these fighters enter the octagon looking for a finish — and that might be exactly what we see on Saturday night.
UFC Austin: Brady vs Gastelum Prediction
Sean Brady Preview
Sean Brady (15-1 record with 7 finishes) last entered the UFC octagon as an undefeated fighter, when he faced Belal Muhammad in Abu Dhabi in October 2022. While Brady lost that fight via knockout, he has surely used that humbling experience to recognize some holes in his game, and has had over a year to patch those holes up.
But let's make no mistake: any Brady vs Gastelum prediction should focus on Sean Brady's grappling. This man might have the best jiu jitsu in the entire UFC welterweight division — which was proven when he submitted Jake Matthews with a gorgeous arm triangle choke back in 2021.
🔔 @SeanBradyMMA locks in the RD 3 sub!
— UFC (@ufc) March 6, 2021
While Kelvin Gastelum might have the striking advantage in this fight, Sean Brady is certainly the better grappler — and almost all UFC fights get to the ground at some point.
If Brady is able to withstand Gastelum's power (which is an ‘if', considering that Gastelum is coming down to welterweight for the first time since 2016, and had massive power at middleweight) and get a hold of Gastelum's hips, Brady should have no problem plopping Gastelum on his back.
From here, he can begin rifling through his arsenal of submissions to see which one he can get Gastelum to tap to — which would surely earn him a performance of the night bonus.
Kelvin Gastelum Preview
Although Kelvin Gastelum (18-8 record with 1o finishes) has fought in the UFC over 20 times — including for an interim middleweight title — this fight on Saturday feels like a completely clean slate for him. Why? Because, as I said before, Gastelum is dropping down to welterweight for the first time since 2016.
The decision to go down to 170 makes a ton of sense for him. While his power translated in the middleweight division, Gastelum was always been the smaller fighter when fighting at 185; probably because his body type is naturally suited for welterweight, as he alluded to in his pre-fight press conference.
While a lot of unanswered questions make a Brady vs Gastelum prediction difficult, one guarantee is that Kelvin Gastelum is looking to knock Sean Brady out. Gastelum will be keen to test how his power translates at 170 early and often, and in this new, lighter weight class, it might only take one of Gastelum's punches to put Brady's lights out.
Of course, he'll need to display his takedown and submission defense, as well — which he has surely been drilling all camp. And if Kelvin Gastelum can keep this fight on the feet, we don't like Sean Brady's chances at all.
Sean Brady vs Kelvin Gastelum Prediction: Razor-Thin Decision
Our Brady vs Gastelum prediction is that Sean Brady will defeat Kelvin Gastelum via split decision.
The reason why we believe Sean Brady is going to win a razor-thin decision is because there are just too many questions marks for Kelvin Gastelum at this point in his career. In addition to moving to welterweight, Gastelum is 2-5 in his last 7 fights, and there's no way of knowing how badly he'll have to deplete himself in order to make 170 pounds. That doesn't sound like a recipe for success.
Sean Brady (who is currently a narrow -125 favorite), on the other hand, is one of the toughest style matchups for Gastelum, considering his grappling aptitude. While there's a good chance the more experienced Gastelum will nullify some of Brady's ground game — and perhaps steal a round or two in the judges eyes, due to his striking — we think that Sean Brady will be able to out grapple Gastelum and secure a decision victory, which is currently available at +275.
Yet, we also think that there's a fair chance that Gastelum puts Brady's lights out. For that reason, Gastelum by KO at +275 is absolutely worth a look.
Although we're predicting a decision finish, we would put this fight as a top contender for Fight of the Night at UFC Austin. Both Sean Brady and Kelvin Gastelum are entering the octagon with something to prove, and the winner will cement themselves as a world-class welterweight.
The stakes are too high for this fight to be a stinker. Strap in to see something exciting.