On November 25, the UFC makes a trip to Shanghai, China where just-deposed Middleweight champion Michael Bisping takes on Kelvin Gastelum. Below, we review some factors you should consider when analysing the Bisping vs. Gastelum odds. Read on for expert Bisping vs. Gastelum betting insight.
Live Bisping vs Gastelum odds
Bisping’s surprising rise to the top
Michael Bisping was more or less finished a few years back - 35-years old, coming off losses to Luke Rockhold, Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort in his last five fights and only really in the UFC for his name recognition and promoter’s push as opposed to his recent track record.
Bisping, famous for his win in the third season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), was a good guy to have around for the UFC. He appealed to U.K. audiences in a way few fighters did and he’d shown his willingness to fight anyone at anytime. That made him a viable substitution anytime Dana White needed one.
The three years since couldn’t have strayed further from the script. Bisping turned things around in his next couple of fights, stepped into a title fight thanks to a short-notice injury and promptly beat the champion Rockhold and held the belt for over a year, until November 4 when he lost it to Georges St. Pierre.
One might have taken time to wonder what would be next for the brawlin’ Brit, but that thought would be short-lived; Anderson Silva, scheduled to face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of a Fight Night card was pulled due to a failed drug test. Any thoughts on where the UFC could turn on short notice to find a middleweight who’d be willing and marketable to step in? Bisping stepped up once again.
Gastelum’s untapped potential
Another TUF darling who appeared to have the world at his feet, Kelvin Gastelum’s talent has only been sidelined by his own inconsistency.
While striking is Bisping's strength, he’s actually managed more takedowns than Gastelum over the course of his career and has quelled the ground advances of one of the best wrestlers the UFC has ever seen.
Gastelum started 10-0 before scoring his first loss - to Tyron Woodley - for which he came in ten pounds overweight. He was eventually forced to ascend to middleweight despite a size disadvantage due to his inability to make weight on multiple occasions.
He’s missed fights due to injury and sprinkled in amongst his wins over mainstays like Johny Hendricks and Nate Marquardt were losses where he was the favourite and wins that were overturned due to testing positive for marijuana.
The best fighters are smart fighters, and while Gastelum has always shown strategic/tactical strength, his out-of-ring record suggests there are maturity issues there, barring him from greatness.
Now, two men with vastly different attitudes and resulting career paths meet. One created opportunity through hard work and sheer willingness, the other is left having to wonder how high he could have risen with discipline in his corner.
For Bisping, it’s a chance to prove he’s still a contender and stay relevant; for Gastelum, a chance to show he’s turned a corner and finally ready to hang where his talent always suggested, with the big boys.
Bisping vs. Gastelum betting: Recent odds
Michael Bisping’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:
Kelvin Gastelum’s recent betting odds at Pinnacle:
Kelvin Gastelum's recent betting odds at Pinnacle
One thing we see above is that MMA bettors favour Bisping more than Pinnacle’s initial Bisping vs. Gastelum odds setters. In each of Bisping’s last three fights, the opening line has been at or close to the very peak in his pricing, with the fighter’s popularity eventually dragging his price downwards. If you see Bisping winning this one, get in early.
Gastelum’s also proven popular in his markets. Each of his last three fights have seen bets for him prove less rewarding the closer one got to fight time before betting.
Of course, something has to break here; Pinnacle’s vig isn’t going to suddenly increase, so either Bisping or Gastelum’s penchant for increasing prices is going to give. Predicting which may be key to profitable betting late, when you’ll have access to increased data.
Bisping vs. Gastelum odds: Tale of the Tape
The tale of the tape
Analysing the match-up
At its base, this is a classic match-up pitting a striker against a wrestler. Bisping has made a career out of using his length and cardio to pepper opponents with lower-intensity strikes while they have difficulty reaching back.
Gastelum’s origins are based in wrestling, with opponents needing to be constantly wary of his superior skills in that realm. Of course, it’s not quite that simple.
First, the striking; it needs to be said that Gastelum has always found ways to hit taller men. While wrestling is still his bread and butter, it forces opponents to defend against it, opening a window through which he’s found almost as many knockouts as submissions. It’s also worth noting that despite the gap in perception, the striking numbers for the two are very similar:
Bisping and Gastelum striking stats
Second, the wrestling; it needs to be said that Bisping has always found a way to combat superior wrestlers. While striking is still his strength, he’s actually managed more takedowns than Gastelum over the course of his career and has quelled the ground advances of one of the best wrestlers the UFC has ever seen.
When GSP took Bisping down, Bisping cut his face open with a series of vicious elbows. GSP was eventually forced to let him up to avoid sustaining further damage. Despite the gap in perception, the grappling numbers for the two are very similar:
Bisping and Gastelum grapling stats
Where is the value?
This one looks incredibly close, so here are a few more factors to consider:
- Bisping will be just three weeks removed from his last fight. That said, Gastelum has been preparing for a different fighter.
- Bisping is 38, and there has to be some expectation of age eventually catching up with him.
- Gastelum’s unreliability to perform, despite his clear talents in the octagon.
- The market is favouring Gastelum right now. He opened at 1.50 and was 1.334* as of Tuesday, November 21. If the fight is indeed as close as statistics suggest, that makes a Bisping bet at 3.570* a good one.
Ultimately, there are a lot of question marks here that need answering, but either way we’re looking at a fight with a lot of potential for action. If you think Gastelum is ready to break through, he’s your man; if you think the former champion still has what got him there in the first place, bet Bisping. Enjoy the fight.