In the waning moments of the opening round of the UFC on Fox 25 headliner, it appeared that Kelvin Gastelum was on the verge of handing Chris Weidman his fourth straight defeat in the Octagon.
With about 10 seconds to go in the frame, “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner rocked Weidman with a left hand. The dazed New Yorker was able to sit up and cling to his opponent’s leg, riding out the last few seconds as Gastelum attempted to score a stoppage with hammerfists. It would turn out to be Gastelum’s last and best finishing opportunity.
“I wanted 30 more seconds, and I could have finished the fight,” Gastelum said at the post-fight press conference. “It’s OK. These things happen.”
Instead, the taller, larger Weidman imposed his will down the stretch, landing a UFC career high seven takedowns en route to a victory via arm-triangle choke at the 3:45 mark of the third round. Gastelum, who had dazzled in performances against Tim Kennedy and Vitor Belfort after moving from 170 pounds to middleweight, admitted that the size difference was a factor on Saturday night.
“He felt really big, he felt really strong,” Gastelum said.
Gastelum’s issues making welterweight are well documented, but after falling short against Weidman, he hopes to make another go of it at 170 pounds. It’s not the first time Gastelum has talked about a return to the welterweight division, but it appears that he will seriously discuss a return to 170 pounds with the UFC before his next bout.
“I feel that 170 is my home. I need to reassess some things. Change my lifestyle a little bit,” he said. “I’m planning on going to Vegas to the UFC Institute [to work on diet and training]. I think my next fight should be at 170. That’s what I’m going to push for.”