Two top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweights are locking horns in January.
ESPN first broke the news on Thursday that Kelvin Gastelum (15-6, 1 NC) will be making his way back to the cage on Jan. 30 against Ian Heinisch (14-3). The two top-15 middleweights will be meeting at an event that does not yet have a main event, but earlier on Thursday, did gain Carlos Condit vs. Matt Brown.
Winner of Season 17 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Gastelum surged after winning that tournament to rack up several wins. Struggles in weight forced him to move up to middleweight, and Gastelum has dropped three consecutive bouts to Israel Adesanya – albeit in the 2019 “Fight of the Year” winner – Darren Till and Jack Hermansson. His quick submission loss to Hermansson in July is the first time the Kings MMA fighter had ever been stopped within the first two rounds.
Heinisch was booked against Brendan Allen at UFC on ESPN 17, but a positive COVID-19 test ejected him from the pairing on the day of the fight. Both he and Allen will see different foes, as Allen faces Sean Strickland on Saturday while Heinisch will be on the shelf until January. Heinisch last appeared in June, when he leveled Gerald Meerschaert in 74 seconds to snap a two-fight decision loss skid.
In addition to the Gastelum-Heinisch and Condit-Brown matchups, the UFC Fight Night card on Jan. 30 that does not officially have a location also contains a women’s flyweight battle between Roxanne Modafferi and Viviane Araujo.
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