Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nassourdine Imavov Targeted For UFC 273 On April 9

Middleweight contenders Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov are set to collide at UFC 273 on April 9.

In the latest of a string of additions to 2022’s fourth pay-per-view card, former interim title challenger Gastelum and rising Frenchman Imavov…

Kelvin Gastelum, Nassourdine Imavov

Middleweight contenders Kelvin Gastelum and Nassourdine Imavov are set to collide at UFC 273 on April 9.

In the latest of a string of additions to 2022’s fourth pay-per-view card, former interim title challenger Gastelum and rising Frenchman Imavov will clash with a place in the 185-pound top 10 on the line, per ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto.

In his first appearance of 2022, Gastelum will be in desperate need of a rebound win. Since a Fight of the Year interim championship fight with Israel Adesanya in 2019, The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner has struggled for form and consistency.

Defeats to Darren Till, Jack Hermansson, Robert Whittaker, and Jared Cannonier since UFC 236 have left Gastelum with a 1-5 record in his last six Octagon outings. His sole victory in that period came against the unranked Ian Heinisch last February.

Imavov, meanwhile, is going in the opposite direction on the middleweight ladder. Whilst his upcoming opponent has slipped to #10 in the rankings, the Dagestan-born French fighter has risen into the top 15 thanks to back-to-back wins against Heinisch and Edmen Shahbzayan.

Against “The Golden Boy” at UFC 268 last November, the “Russian Sniper” established himself as a contender with a brutal TKO from the crucifix position.

On April 9, Gastelum will be looking to return the win column and begin his ascent back to the top. Despite his veteran status in the promotion, the Californian is still only 30 and has plenty of time to resurrect his ambitions in the UFC.

For Imavov, who is five years Gastelum’s younger, this matchup represents the chance for him to break into the middleweight top 10 and take a big step further towards title contention, something the MMA Factory product will hope to welcome in with open arms at UFC 273.

Listed below are the fights expected to take place at UFC 273:

Alexander Volkanovski (C) vs. The Korean Zombie (featherweight title fight)

Aljamain Sterling (C) vs. Petr Yan (IC) (bantamweight unification title fight)

Kelvin Gastelum vs. Nassourdine Imavov (middleweight)

Mackenzie Dern vs. Tecia Torres (women’s strawweight)

Mickey Gall vs. Mike Malott (welterweight)

Irene Aldana vs. Aspen Ladd (women’s bantamweight)

Pat Sabatini vs. Gavin Tucker (featherweight)

Who do you think will have their hand raised at UFC 273, Kelvin Gastelum or Nassourdine Imavov?

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Robert Whittaker Explains The Predicament Kelvin Gastelum Is In

Former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker views fierce competition as the main hurdle in Kelvin Gastelum’s career.

#1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker will go against Israel Adesanya in a rematch at UFC 271 this February to reclaim t…

Robert Whittaker Kelvin Gastelum

Former UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker views fierce competition as the main hurdle in Kelvin Gastelum‘s career.

#1 middleweight contender Robert Whittaker will go against Israel Adesanya in a rematch at UFC 271 this February to reclaim the championship. He knows firsthand what it is like to lose to “The Last Stylebender” and refuses to let it be his downfall.

Robert Whittaker (left) and Israel Adesanya / Photo Credit: Michael Dodge/EPA

Since the UFC 243 loss, the New Zealand-born fighter has been on a winning streak, including a win against Gastelum and the middleweight division’s #3-ranked fighter Jared Cannonier, who bested Gastelum by unanimous decision at UFC Vegas 43.

In contrast, Kelvin Gastelum has experienced a setback after his loss to Israel Adesanya back in 2019 and questions his place in his current weight class.

“I don’t see him going back down to 170. He’s a thick dude. He hits like a ton of bricks as well. I don’t see him going down to 170. He’s just in that awkward spot that I think a lot of guys get in, where they find it hard, they’re coming up against the highest tier up at the top of the ladder, but they crush a lot of the dudes coming up onto the ladder. So he’s kind of getting caught in that gatekeeping sort of spot,” Whittaker said about Gastelum in a recent interview with MMA Junkie.

The middleweight division certainly is home to some incredible UFC talent such as Sean Strickland, Jack Hermansson, Derek Brunson, and, of course, Israel Adesanya. Every fighter is hungry to be the champion. And with only one win out of his last six fights, Kelvin Gastelum may have a long journey ahead.

But despite the defeats, “The Reaper” had nothing other than positive things to say about the #10 middleweight:

“I’ve got a lot of love for that guy, I really like him. I’ve got a lot of respect for him as well. He’s had a bit of a rough skid lately, just because he’s been fighting hard guys. He’s been fighting top-tier opponents. It is not easy… fighting, playing, and trying to advance up in the top five. It is hard. Everyone up there is the best in the world. Everyone up there could be the next champ. We’ve seen that with him. He’s been fighting the highest-quality opponents,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie.

Kelvin Gastelum
Image Credit: Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Struggling to make weight caused Gastelum’s move up to the middleweight division in 2016. But following his Ultimate Fighter 17 win in 2013, Kelvin Gastelum sped through the welterweight rankings. Despite fewer losses at 170 and talks of hiring a dietician to help maintain his weight, we may see Gastelum in a welterweight bout in 2022.

With seven knockouts under his name, the veteran fighter possesses the potential to move back up in the rankings just like other fighters have done in the past, Whittaker believes.

“He’s my age, I think, so he’s got years to evolve and change his game, and to develop new skillsets. I see him developing himself and coming back with better versions of himself. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Kelvin Gastelum,” Whittaker continued.

What do you think is next for Kelvin Gastelum?

Continue Reading Robert Whittaker Explains The Predicament Kelvin Gastelum Is In at MMA News.

Israel Adesanya Heard Voices In His Head During Kelvin Gastelum Fight

Gastelum Israel AdesanyaIsrael Adesanya heard voices in his head during his UFC 236 title fight. It has been two years and four months since UFC 236. Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum went to war that night in one of the best fights in UFC history. ‘Stylebender’ won the interim UFC middleweight championship. There was a lot that was […]

Gastelum Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya heard voices in his head during his UFC 236 title fight.

It has been two years and four months since UFC 236. Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum went to war that night in one of the best fights in UFC history. ‘Stylebender’ won the interim UFC middleweight championship.

There was a lot that was going on in the mind of Adesanya that night. During an interview with the Snacks and Chats podcast, he revealed he heard voices in his head during the third round.

“Everyone has that voice in their head [that says], ‘It’s okay. Don’t worry. Just tap out, just tap out,” Adesanya said.

“I had it in the Gastelum fight. In the end of the 3rd round or fourth round, it was like, ‘you’ve done enough. You hit him with a spinning elbow. You rocked him; you dropped him. It’s okay, just chill for a bit.’ Fu*k off, shut up, go. You have to tell that voice to fu*k off because it is there. I don’t give a fu*k who you are. Mike Tyson had that voice. [Muhammad] Ali had that voice. All the greats had it, but you have to override it. It is self-preservation because that’s what your brain wants to do-it wants to protect you.”

“I was winning the fight. I remember it was a feeling of-it happens in a split second; it’s not like a prolonged thing. It is like a lot of dialogue in a split second. It was like, ‘you dropped him, you’ve shown that you’re a fuc*in champ, you did a cool spinning elbow, that’s cool. You can just chill.’ I had to tell it fuc* off, and I just went at him.”

There is an infamous clip of him saying he was prepared to die when the fifth round started.

He still loves that fifth round and says it is one of the best moments of his life.

“The fifth round is still one of the greatest moments in my life. Not just in fighting but in my life. I dug deep in that one, and I found the new level. So, yeah, that is something that no one can ever take away from me, and I’m glad because he got close. But I’m glad I got the nod,” Adesanya said.

The fight would go on to win Fight of the Night as well as Fight of the Year in 2019 and will go down as one of the best title fights in the UFC.

Kelvin Gastelum Leaves Door Open For Welterweight Return

UFC middleweight and former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum has hinted that he could return to 170 pounds in the near future. Since his interim championship defeat to current 185-pound king Israel Adesanya in 2019, Gastelum has been on a torrid run of form, which has seen him record just one win in his last […]

Continue Reading Kelvin Gastelum Leaves Door Open For Welterweight Return at MMA News.

UFC middleweight and former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum has hinted that he could return to 170 pounds in the near future.

Since his interim championship defeat to current 185-pound king Israel Adesanya in 2019, Gastelum has been on a torrid run of form, which has seen him record just one win in his last six fights. A loss to divisional newcomer Darren Till at UFC 244 was followed by a shocking first-round submission setback against Jack Hermansson last July. The 29-year-old did briefly return to the win column when he outpointed Ian Heinisch in February, but two defeats since have seen Gastelum fall to yet another losing skid.

After landing on the wrong side of a decision against the dominant Robert Whittaker in April, the TUF 17 winner had hoped to begin a change in fortune when he was in action last month. In the UFC Vegas 34 main event, Gastelum faced Jared Cannonier, who had been out of action since his own loss to “The Reaper” in 2020. Having seen the judges’ scorecards succumb him to defeat yet again, Gastelum is at a crossroads in his faltering career.

Despite the struggles he had making the weight limit at welterweight, Gastelum is now considering a potential move back down to 170 pounds in an effort to reignite his UFC tenure.

In an interview with The Schmo, the Californian suggested he could hire a dietician to help him better manage another possible stint in the lower weight class. That’s despite UFC President Dana White previously refusing to let Gastelum compete at welterweight after multiple weight misses.

“I’m thinking about. Maybe, possibly, hiring a dietitian (to help me) make the move down (to welterweight) but it’ll take some time. If I do this, I’ll be fighting next year which is most likely the case.” (h/t LowKick MMA)

UFC 200: Gastelum vs. Hendricks (Image Credit: Ray Del Rio/Getty Images)

Gastelum last competed at welterweight in 2016. At UFC 200, the 29-year-old defeated former champion Johny Hendricks, who had missed weight ahead of the bout. Gastelum’s only losses at 170 pounds came via split decisions against former champ Tyron Woodley and perennial contender Neil Magny.

He’s undoubtedly small for middleweight, and if he can manage a move back to welterweight appropriately and nail down his weight cut, Gastelum could be a force to be reckoned with at welterweight.

Do you think Kelvin Gastelum should make the switch back to welterweight?

Continue Reading Kelvin Gastelum Leaves Door Open For Welterweight Return at MMA News.

Kelvin Gastelum Says He Thought He Defeated Jared Cannonier

Kelvin Gastelum thought he did enough in his closely contested fight with Jared Cannonier to sway the judges in his favor. In what many considered to be the 2019 fight of the year, Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya endured a five-round war resulting …

Kelvin Gastelum thought he did enough in his closely contested fight with Jared Cannonier to sway the judges in his favor. In what many considered to be the 2019 fight of the year, Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya endured a five-round war resulting in an interim-title win for “The Last Stylebender” and a subsequent middleweight […]

Continue Reading Kelvin Gastelum Says He Thought He Defeated Jared Cannonier at MMA News.

5 Fights We Need to See After UFC on ESPN 29

UFC on ESPN 29 went down Saturday night in Las Vegas. Like many other recent UFC Fight Nights, it was short on big names, but it made up for that deficit with plenty of memorable action…

UFC on ESPN 29 went down Saturday night in Las Vegas. Like many other recent UFC Fight Nights, it was short on big names, but it made up for that deficit with plenty of memorable action…