Kelvin Gastelum

USA

Steps in to face Cannonier
MiddleweightUFC
June 6, 2021
Gastelum will step in to replace Paulo Costa and face off against Jared Cannonier in a middleweight matchup at the UFC event set to take place Aug. 21, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
While Gastelum has lost four of his last five fights, each defeat has been against the absolute class of the UFC's 185-pound division. His willingness to step in on short notice here will also keep him in the good graces of UFC brass and potentially set him up for favorable opportunities down the road. As is typical, Gastelum will give up sizable height (two inches) and reach (six inches) marks to Cannonier, who has won three of his last four fights. Both men are coming off a loss to Robert Whittaker, thought the striking marks were much more even in Cannonier's shot at the former champion. Gastelum does have an edge in wrestling, should he choose to use it. He's recorded a takedown in each of his last five fights, including a six-takedown effort against Ian Heinisch -- his only victory over that span.
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Overmatched in main event loss
MiddleweightUFC
April 17, 2021
Gastelum lost to Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision (45-50, 45-50, 45-50) at UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Gastelum did all he could, remaining aggressive at every opportunity and trying to vary his attacks, but it simply wasn't meant to be. Kelvin had all sorts of difficulty with both the power and speed of Whittaker. Whittaker threw a ton of fakes at Gastelum, and Kelvin bit on a good portion of them. There was also a clear strength edge for Whittaker, as Gastelum, an excellent wrestler, gave up a couple of easy takedowns. Kelvin's skill set isn't in doubt and his toughness is legendary, but Gastelum is severely undersized fighting at 185 pounds and it's hurting him. Kelvin's 1-4 record dating back to April 2019 isn't the least bit indicative of how talented he is, but you are what your record says you are in this sport and Gastelum has quickly and swiftly fallen out of the middleweight title conversation. On the bright side, he'll walk away with an extra $50,000 after this matchup was awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Replacing Costa in main event
MiddleweightUFC
March 16, 2021
Gastelum is scheduled to face Robert Whittaker at the UFC's April 17 event after Paulo Costa withdrew Tuesday because of an illness, Brett Okamoto of ESPN.com reports.
ANALYSIS
The UFC wasted no time finding a replacement for this fight after Costa was forced to bow out earlier in the day with an apparent illness. Gastelum was supposed to fight Whittaker for the Middleweight Belt in February of 2019 but the bout was scrapped after Whittaker suffered a hernia in his abdomen. The 29-year-old recently ended a three-fight losing streak after he defeated Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision at UFC 258 in February and will look to continue his momentum into this highly anticipated meeting against Whittaker.
Grinds past Ian Heinisch
MiddleweightUFC
February 13, 2021
Gastelum defeated Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28) at UFC 258 on Saturday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
A loser of three fights in a row and likely needing a victory to save his job, Gastelum shocked the MMA world and leaned on his grappling to get the job done. Kelvin scored six successful takedowns after never landing more than three in any of his previous UFC bouts. Many people forget how good of a wrestler Gastelum is because he never uses those skills, but Saturday was an excellent reminder of the type of ability he possesses. Kelvin has always had some of the fastest hands in the division, so implementing his wrestling game on a regular basis would only serve to improve his chances of moving up the rankings. Toss in his legendary durability and the fact he is still just 29 years of age, and you have a legitimate contender at 185 pounds. Don't sleep on Gastelum despite his recent struggles.
Heinisch fight bumped back
MiddleweightUFC
December 22, 2020
Gastelum's upcoming middleweight fight against Ian Heinisch will now take place Feb. 13, Marcel Dorff of MMADNA.nl reports.
ANALYSIS
The matchup had originally been set for Jan. 30, but there's no longer a card scheduled for that date. Gastelum will now get an extra two weeks to prepare as he looks to turn his three-fight losing streak around. As of early-January, Gastelum is listed as a (-225) betting favorite for the matchup.
Agrees to January fight
MiddleweightUFC
November 12, 2020
Gastelum will take on Ian Heinisch (illness) in a middleweight bout at UFC Fight Night on Jan. 30, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
Gastelum is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, most recently losing to Jack Hermansson via submission (Heel Hook) in July during his only fight of 2020. He'll look to rebound against Heinisch, who was forced to withdraw from his fight scheduled for Nov. 7 after testing positive for COVID-19. Heinisch defeated Gerald Meerschaert via TKO (punches) in June, bringing his record to 3-2 under the UFC banner. Heinisch has a slight advantage in height, but the two fighters are even in reach.