You can sign up for a free seven-day trial of ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream UFC on ESPN+ 1 live on your computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the ESPN app.
Gregor Gillespie will step inside the Octagon for the sixth time when he takes on Yancy Medeiros at UFC Fight Night 143 on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. The unbeaten Gillespie finds himself knocking on the door to the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s lightweight Top 10, and a win over Medeiros would likely propel him further up the ladder.
Gillespie provides the material for the latest installment in “The Film Room” series.
Henry Cejudo is the most accomplished Olympic wrestler on this card, but Gillespie is without a doubt the most decorated collegian. He was a four-time NCAA All-American at Edinboro University and won a national championship in 2007. After graduation, Gillespie became an assistant coach for Hofstra University, one of the most prestigious wrestling schools in the country, and remained there until he started his professional MMA career in 2014. Gillespie got a late start in the sport, but his grappling skills were enough to get him by early on and allowed him time to develop his full mixed martial arts game. Gillespie is a grueling grappler and likes to grind out his opponents on the cage to drain their cardio and make takedowns easier. He has a wide variety of takedowns, but his favorites are a simple power single-leg and trips from a rear body lock. Something to notice about his single-leg takedowns is how he will often lift the opponent’s leg to sweep him off his post leg instead of overpowering him to the ground. This is the exact takedown with which Cejudo has enjoyed success his entire career.
Once on the ground, Gillespie has a good mix of knowing when to pass guard and improve position and when to posture up and strike. His single-leg takedowns allow him to land in either half guard or side control, where he will use chest-on-chest pressure to knee slide into full mount.
After achieving a favorable position, Gillespie will fire off ground-and-pound while looking for the finish. He could be more aggressive with his ground-and-pound, but since he can pass his opponent’s guard with ease and easily control him on the ground, he does not have to be as urgent as some of his contemporaries. Gillespie knows he can take the fight to the ground at will.
Ten of his 12 professional wins have come by stoppage, half of them by knockout and half of them by submission. Although he is not thought of as a submission threat, he has flashed a nasty arm-triangle and has finished two opponents with the maneuver from mount. For those unfamiliar with the submission, the arm-triangle choke is usually secured from side control, a position from which you can rotate your hips for a stronger squeeze. Being able to finish the choke from mount is extremely difficult in MMA since you cannot use your lower body to help.
Gillespie’s striking remains basic, but with his grappling focus and aptitude, he does not need a ton of tricks up his sleeve on the feet. His jab has worked wonders for him on the lead and on the counter, and he intelligently uses it to set up quick combos into a takedown attempt. Outside of the jab, Gillespie does not offer much on the feet, other than the basic jab-straight-hook-uppercut every fighter in the world uses. However, he knows how to use these basics to set up his grappling, which is what makes him such a dangerous contender.