Opinion: UFC 166 Winner Gabriel Gonzaga’s Brutal Power
By Michael Hatamoto
UFC heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga has shown new life after re-joining the UFC and is now riding a 5-1 fight streak dating back to October 2011.
In his most recent performance, Gonzaga quickly dispatched heavy-handed Shawn Jordan in just 1:33 of the first round – showing the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) black belt still enjoys a standup brawl.
Like many others, I expected to see Jordan try to use his athleticism to avoid Gonzaga’s heavy hands, while trying to land shots. Instead, Gonzaga was able to immediately establish his jab, and then landed a counter hook that dropped Jordan and lead to a few finishing hammer fists.
It’s great to see a 34-year-old veteran with a pro fight career dating back to 2003 still learning and working on his overall game. Too bad Gonzaga continues to teach and train primarily at Team Link in Massachusetts, as a bit more cross-training with bigger camps could help him.
Gonzaga has spent less than 10 minutes in the cage through four fights in 2013, winning all by KO or submission. He has had great success in the UFC cage, and has suffered losses only to some of the best: Travis Browne, Brendan Scaub, Junior dos Santos, Shane Carwin, Fabricio Werdum, and Randy Couture.
I look forward to seeing what the UFC will do with Gonzaga in 2014, as he isn’t ready for a heavyweight title shot again, but clearly has the ability to continue rebuild.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UFC match Gonzaga up with someone like Brendan Schaub, as both fighters should be able to put on an exciting fight for fans. A heavyweight slugfest between Gonzaga and Roy Nelson would be a fan favorite, because both guys like to stand and bang – and their BJJ could very well neutralize a ground battle.