Gastelum Will Be A Top Contender At Welterweight

Uriah-Hall It’s official, folks: TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum, who upset the favored Uriah Hall to win the tournament crown and the six-figure contract with the UFC, is making the drop down from middleweight to the welterweight division for his next fight. The 21-year-old confirmed the news of the weight class switch today on Twitter, and he also said that his first UFC fight at welterweight will be announced on Monday. For someone who was already a scary, scary man at 185 pounds, but a scary man with a little bit of jiggle around his waist, the move to 170 is big news, and the whole division needs to keep their eyes open for this youngster with a tremendous amount of skill and talent. Gastelum won TUF as a +300 underdog when he defeated Hall via split decision at the TUF 17 Finale (whatever judge scored the fight for Hall was completely wrong, by the way). The only reason he was such a big dog in the finale was because Hall had gained tons of hype following brutal KO wins over Adam Cella and Bubba McDaniel on TUF, two wins that had UFC president Dana White gushing about how “scary” Hall was and how no one in the house wanted to fight him. At the same time while Hall was getting all sorts of hype, Gastelum was being just as impressive in racking up submission wins over Josh Samman and McDaniel, as well as a KO win over Collin Hart. The only difference was that White and the TUF producers barely gave Gastelum any push and so if you were just a casual viewer of the show you wouldn’t have realized just how good this guy is. But if you paid attention and did your homework you knew what sort of potential Gastelum had, and he put it to full force in his surprising win over Hall. In the UFC’s welterweight division, the key to winning is undoubtedly wrestling. If you have wrestling, you can go far, but if you don’t have it, you’re never going to come close to sniffing a championship. And since the goal for every mixed martial artist in the UFC is to win a championship (or, at least it should be their goal), then having wrestling — both offensive and defensive — is a necessity, and Gastelum definitely has some very good wrestling. Against Hall, Gastelum was repeatedly able to take down a bigger, stronger man because of his technique and because of his want and desire to secure the takedowns. Hall is one of the biggest middleweights out there and the only other times he’s struggled in his career were fights against Chris Weidman (great offensive wrestler) and Costa Philippou (great defensive wrestler) so for Gastelum to out-wrestle him was definitely something to be impressed by and there’s no doubt in my mind he’ll be just as dominant with his takedowns when he drops down a weight class for his next fight. I’m very curious to see who the UFC matches Gastelum up with. Hopefully, it’s not someone too high up the ladder because he’s still only 21 and doesn’t need to be rushed. But at the same time, if he could take out Hall then he’ll likely be able to take out a lot of good fighters at 170, too, so if the UFC gives him a fight with someone around the middle of the ladder I wouldn’t complain too loudly. Either way, keep an eye out for Gastelum at 170 pounds because he could very well be wearing the belt someday.

Written by Adam Martin.

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