With the UFC middleweight division at a standstill, all eyes appear to be on the battle for the interim UFC middleweight title in a couple of weeks, but beyond that night Kelvin Gastelum has an opportunity to make some noise of his own should he defeat Chris Weidman at UFC on Fox 25.
Gastelum has had his issues making the welterweight limit as he failed to make 170 lbs twice in his career, but since moving up to middleweight, he’s been on quite a run at 185 lbs that hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Gastelum’s latest outing featured a complete dismantling of UFC legend Vitor Belfort in his native Brazil in March. Gastelum was scheduled to fight Anderson Silva at UFC 212, but due to a USADA suspension from a failed drug test for marijuana metabolites on the night of his fight with Belfort, his win was overturned and he was pulled from what would’ve been his biggest name opponent to date.
Gastelum’s misfortune would take a positive turn when he was booked to headline the upcoming Fox card against the man who dethroned Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman.
Although Weidman opened up as the favorite, a strong case could be made for Gastelum considering how he was able to put Nate Marquardt, Tim Kennedy and Belfort away with his striking.
Gastelum like Weidman prominently features high pressure in his standup game, but unlike Gastelum, the “All-American” possesses a a strong wrestling poise. That same poise has clearly been on a decline as of late, but when you read the names, Luke Rockhold, Yoel Romero, and Gegard Mousasi on his record, it’s clear he hasn’t been given any breaks. The problem is that Gastelum is yet another big obstacle standing in front of Weidman and if Weidman is unable to use his wrestling effectively, it could be a short night for the former champion.
Gastelum’s game is still evolving and with the struggle to make 170 lbs no longer present, it’s safe to say we have yet to see the best from the 25-year-old. Pretty soon we could wind up watching Gastelum take on somebody like Ronaldo “Jacare Souza or Luke Rockhold and we could be in store for a Frankie Edgar like figure in the middleweight division.