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Kelvin Gastelum: Upcoming Bout vs. Daniel Rodriguez Is a Must-Win for Both Fighters



Kelvin Gastelum believes his upcoming clash against Daniel Rodriguez has both of their Ultimate Fighting Championship contracts at stake.

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Gastelum is scheduled to face Rodriguez at UFC on ABC 6 on Saturday at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Gastelum’s UFC career has been on somewhat of a downward spiral, as he has gone 2-5 since his interim middleweight title loss to Israel Adesanya in 2019. Gastelum dropped back to welterweight after nine years for his most recent outing, where he suffered a submission loss against Sean Brady in December 2023.

With his “back against the wall,” Gastelum feels a win against Rodriguez is imperative for him to stay with the UFC. Gastelum also believes it’s a must-win situation for his opponent to extend his UFC contract, as well. “D-Rod” is coming off consecutive stoppage losses against Neil Magny and Ian Garry after winning his previous four Octagon appearances. While the thought of not getting his contract extended scares Gastelum after more than a decade in the UFC, he is being optimistic going into UFC Saudi Arabia.

“We’ve been working pretty hard for this camp. I feel like my back’s up against the wall a little bit because things haven’t gone the way I wanted to in my career lately,” Gastelum told MMAjunkie.com. “But as always man I’m coming into this confident…This one feels a little different. I feel like I need a win, I’m in a must-win situation. And I think both of us are. I think loser packs and goes home and doesn’t sign with the UFC again… It does [scare me] but you know what, I’m a man that always thinks positive, so we’re gonna stay positive.”

Gasteum believes that not only has he faced tougher competition than Rodriguez, but he is also better than “D-Rod” in all aspects.

“I feel I’ve fought way better fighters, I feel I’m the better fighter as well,” he said. “Anywhere the fight goes, standing, on the ground, I think I’m better anywhere. Yeah, there’s a couple of things he does really good and just gotta stay vigilant on those things, and I think everything will be alright.”
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