5 Things You Might Not Know About Kelvin Gastelum

By Guy Portman Feb 6, 2019

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Kelvin Gastelum (15-3, 1 NC) is a fighter who competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight division. In his next outing, the 27-year-old will vie for the promotion’s middleweight strap against reigning champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 234.

As the eagerly-awaited title fight looms, here are five things that you might not know about Kings MMA standout.

He started out in wrestling.

Gastelum’s introduction to combat sports came through wrestling. During his high school days at Cibola High School in Yuma, Arizona, he excelled at the discipline. He continued wrestling at North Idaho College. After a year of college, he decided to quit in order to concentrate on his chosen career path of mixed martial arts.

He was the youngest winner of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

Fledgling MMA combatant Gastelum was a middleweight contestant on “The Ultimate Fighter 17: Team Jones vs Team Sonnen” in 2012. Having defeated Kito Andrews by decision, he entered the house as the last pick for Team Sonnen. A second-round submission of Bubba McDaniel saw him qualify for the quarterfinals, where he overcame Collin Hart by TKO. A first round rear-naked choke submission of Josh Samman followed in the semi-finals. In the finals, he faced experienced striker Uriah Hall, who entered the clash as the considerable favorite. After 15 minutes, Gastelum emerged victorious by split decision. In doing so, the 21-year-old became the youngest ever winner of the show.

He has a big appetite.

Gastelum is a self-confessed fan of Mexican food with his mother’s own being a particular favorite. The talented mixed martial artist has previously been accused of over-indulgence, due to his past failures in making the welterweight limit. It was his problems with the scales that led to UFC head honcho Dana White forcing the 5’9’’ pugilist to move to middleweight. Since going up a division, the Arizonian has not had any trouble making his mandatory weight. Although the stocky Gastelum has proven himself to be highly competitive in his new weight class, he has not ruled out returning to 170 in the future.

He was raised by a single mother.

The UFC veteran was born to Mexican-hailing immigrants in Yuma, Arizona, in 1991. With an absent father, it was his mother who took on the role as breadwinner. Gastelum said that she was “working three to four jobs” to make ends meet. Today, she has her own restaurant in Yuma that specializes in hot dogs and tacos. It’s called El Campeon. If her son wins his upcoming title bout, the name will have proven to be apt. While Gastelum trains at Kings MMA in California, he remains close to his mother and sees her whenever he can.

He turned professional at 19.

The teenager was making ends meet as a bail bondsman when he made his professional MMA debut opposite Jose Sanchez at LAF 1 Border Wars in Dec. 2010. The fight took place south of the border in his parents’ homeland of Mexico. Just 98 seconds into the second stanza, Gastelum claimed the victory by TKO. He would go on to win his next nine bouts, with six of them coming by stoppage. Advertisement
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