MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/24: Roger Gracie submits Buchecha and plans MMA return, Gastelum’s next move, UFC Fight Night 116

By Cole Henry, MMATorch editor

Kelvin Gastelum (photo credit Tom Szczerbowski © USA Today Sports)

Roger Gracie submits Marcus “Buchecha” in BJJ, plans MMA return

Two of the greatest BJJ competitors ever competed on Sunday, and Roger Gracie proved to be the better fighter in his rematch with Marcus “Buchecha.” It was a great moment for BJJ, a huge match between two of the best, with a submission finish. And then Roger Gracie retired…

The man who has never been submitted in competition has decided to put his BJJ career behind him and set his sights back on MMA. Gracie holds an 8-2 record in the sport, and has competed for such notable organizations as Bellator, One Fighting, and the UFC. In One Fighting, his current home, he is the reigning Cruiserweight Champion, currently riding a two-fight win streak.

Gracie has proved to be an adept MMA fighter up to this point, and has actually shown his striking in a few of his recent fights, including a performance against James McSweeney that saw him knock out the former pro Muay Thai fighter with a body kick and punches. At 35, it’s hard to say what he ceiling is, but if he wins a few fights in impressive fashion it could be possible that we see him back in the UFC someday. Until then though, the crown of greatest active grappler will be passed onto the next guy, because for now Roger Gracie is moving on.

Henry’s Analysis: Roger Gracie has looked really good through his run on ONE Fighting, so I look forward to seeing him return to action and defend his belt. Still though, this is a loss for BJJ because he is without a doubt one of if not the best ever.

Kelvin Gastelum plans welterweight return

This was mentioned yesterday in the Sunday news post, but I wanted to expand on it a bit. Kelvin Gastelum is a fascinating young fighter, with a seemingly unlimited amount of potential, but I think after the Weidman fight it is clear that welterweight is the class for him. Gastelum has not seemed phased by his lack of size at middleweight in the past, but it seemed to be a big factor in the Weidman fight. He still had his moments, and is clearly capable of being near the top of the UFC Middleweight Division, but winning the belt would be quite a tall order. Welterweight seems a bit more natural, so if he can get his weight under control, it seems likely that he can become a challenger for the title and possibly even a champion sometime down the road. This is really the first clear loss that he has ever had, because both of his previous losses were by very close split decisions, but still I suspect that he will recover nicely, and this will just be a bump in the road for the former Ultimate Fighter winner.

Fight Announcements

All of the following fights have been announced for UFC Fight Night 116…

Luke Rockhold vs. David Branch
Hector Lombard vs. Anthony Smith
Krzysztof Jotko vs. Uriah Hall
Kamaru Usman vs. Sergio Moraes
Gilbert Burns vs. Jason Saggo
Anthony Hamilton vs. Daniel Spitz
Justin Ledet vs. Dmitrii Smoliakov

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 7/23: Weidman gets first win in two years, and timing might be perfect to get right back in title mix (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

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