21-year old Kelvin Gastelum looked sharp throughout his tilt with Uriah Hall at the Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale, taking the heavily favored striker down repeatedly while delivering bombs from a number of positions. Even more impressive, Gastelum did so as the noticeably smaller man, clocking in at 5’9” in a weight-class ruled by six-footers.
Though Gastelum is unbeaten six fights into his career and has always competed as a middleweight, the newly crowned Ultimate Fighter won’t be continuing the trend now that he’s cemented a spot on the UFC roster alongside the sport’s elite. Rather, he’s ready to move down a division.
“I haven’t talked with Dana White or Joe Silva or anybody, but yeah, that’s what my next move is, or what I want it to be. I haven’t really talked to anybody about it yet,” said Gastelum this week on The MMA Hour. “All my fights have been at 185, but I know that once I get the diet going and my work outs, I’ll be able to make 170 for sure.”
The humble up-and-comer, who nearly quit MMA before coming across an advertisement for TUF 17 auditions, went on to explain his encounter with Hall was all the evidence he needed that welterweight was where he belonged.
“Uriah felt real strong. And I wasn’t able to control him like I wanted to and really finish the fight,” explained Gastelum. “That was the first fight that I haven’t finished in my career. I’m not a point fighter. I go out there and I try to finish fights, so that’s the only thing. He felt really strong.”
Gastelum had picked up three TKOs and two submissions in his five fights prior to TUF 17. On the show he put all three of his opponents away including two in the first frame. Now, with a future facing similarly-sized foes, it appears the odds of Gastelum getting back to his old ways are certainly on the rise.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC/MMAWEEKLY