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Welcome to the UFC, Salazar & Kelades

Two last minute replacements have been found for injured fighters on the UFC's Halifax card this weekend.

Louis Gaudinot pictured.
Louis Gaudinot pictured.
Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

The injury bug can bite at any time. And for UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine, which takes place this Saturday, October 4th, it's bitten hard and fast. Eventually Louis Gaudinot, Aljamain Sterling, Rob Font, and a bout between Kailin Curran and Paige VanZant have all been removed from the card. The latest injuries, to Font and Gaudinot, are behind these most recent replacements. Filling in for Louis Gaudinot against Patrick Holohan will be Canadian newcomer Chris Kelades. Filling in for Rob Font against Mitch Gagnon is Arizona native Roman Salazar. So...

Who is Chris Kelades?

The 33-year old from Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia will enter the UFC with a 7-1 record in MMA. He trains out of Fit Plus MMA alongside UFC top contender TJ Grant. His record is solidly regional, a mix of journeymen, cans, and debuting fighters. His one loss came against what is likely the best competition of his career, and on his biggest stage. He dropped a three round unanimous decision to the undefeated Malcom Gordon at Bellator 119 in May of this year. From what I can tell, he came to MMA fairly cold as to past martial arts experience, first training out of Abhaya MMA before making his debut back in 2009. While that puts him around the six year mark for pro experience, he spent more than two years on the sidelines, recovering from a neck injury suffered after his 2011 bout with Dimitri Waardenburg.

What you should expect:

Kelades' striking is incedibly hit or miss. In part this seems to be predicated on his desire to kickbox, rather than just using his hands. When he tries to mix in kick combinations his striking seems powerless and tentative. When he just sits down on his punches and leaves his legs out of it, he's capable of reeling off hard hook and uppercut combinations in the phonebooth. He's still not an advanced, or defensively sound, striker in either form, but he definitely seems to do better as a pure boxer. To compliment his striking, he's really not much of a wrestler. Mostly this appears to be a lack of raw strength, coupled with a lack of finesse on takedown technique. He can get in on a single or a double, but has a lot of trouble finishing them.

The real highlight of Kelades' game is almost certainly his scrambling and transitional grappling game. He's actually a pretty decent wrestler once all four limbs are on the mat and has a nice variety of sweeps and submission transitions that he can pull out from almost any position. He's not a very positionally controlling grappler, so once he gets to an advantageous situation, he often loses it, but he appears to chain submissions nicely and scrambles well back to his feet.

What this means for his debut:

Outlook not good. Holohan is certainly a better, more dynamic, and harder hitting striker than Kelades. He also possess a similarly styled scrambling and aggressive submission game. Neither man is an adept wrestler either in takedown defense or in generating takedowns, but Holohan looks like the faster, more athletic fighter, who will probably be favored on the ground if the fight stays there for any length of time. All told, Kelades may be hard pressed to beat more athletic, more dynamic strikers if he can't outwork them on the ground.

Who is Roman Salazar?

The 26 year old Fight Ready MMA team member trains alongside Henry Cejudo and Frankie Saenz down in Arizona. He'll be making his way to the UFC with a 9-2 record. He hasn't faced a lot of elite competition in that stretch, excepting Anthony Brichak who is one of the two fighters to beat him. Overall his record is alright, but probably the most notable thing about it is that he's only been to decision three times in his 11 bouts, with 3 TKO's, 3 subs, and a DQ in his 9 wins.

What you should expect:

Salazar is a very tentative kickboxer at range, and suffers defensively because of it. The main principal of his striking seems to be to look for an opportunity to get inside, and as a result his output is very predictable and he leaves himself open to getting hit hard behind his strike entries. If he can lunge in he has shown himself able to throw some solid power shots, and has a decent clinch game. His takedown game doesn't appear to be very strong, however and seems predicated more on his opponents mistakes than his own technique. When on the ground, he postures well out of the guard to land ground and pound. He strikes well on the ground, and seems good at controlling opponents in transition to land striking and submission offense.

What this means for his debut:

Likely, Salazar's debut is not going to go well for him. He's shown trouble handling powerful strikers who can time his entries before, and Gagnon is one of the most powerful fighters at 135 lbs. Gagnon is also a crushing grappler and while perhaps not a great technical wrestler, strong enough to bully most fighters to the ground. Salazar might be able to find a little room on the outside to keep from getting hit early, but it's hard to see a way he beats Gagnon, especially given the short notice of his call-up.

To get us better acquainted, here's his recent bout against Michael Parker at World Fighting Federation 11: