Former interim UFC middleweight title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum is set to return to the Octagon on April 9. at UFC 273, booking a showdown against the #12 ranked contender, Nassourdine Imavov. At the time of publication, a location or venue for the event has yet to be determined by the organization.
Attempting to snap a two-fight losing run, Kings MMA staple, Gastelum most recently headlined UFC Vegas 34 in August, suffering a unanimous decision defeat to upcoming UFC 271 feature, Jared Cannonier. The loss saw Gastelum plummet to #10 in the official middleweight pile.
Riding a two-fight winning run into the April 9. outing with Gastelum, Imavov, a product of Fernand Lopez at MMA Factory Paris, most recently stopped the highly-touted Edmen Shahbazyan with ground strikes at UFC 268 in November at Madison Square Garden. Brett Okamoto of ESPN MMA was first to report the bout.
1-5 in his last six Octagon outings, California native, Gastelum’s sole victory in that period came courtesy of a unanimous decision win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258 back in February.
Once challenging for interim middleweight spoils in a Fight of the Year with current undisputed middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, Gastelum dropped a back-and-forth unanimous decision loss at UFC 236. Losses to Darren Till and Jack Hermansson followed before a defeat to former undisputed champion, Robert Whittaker in April after his win against Heinisch.
Amongst his career victories, The Ultimate Fighter 17 victor has managed to secure notable triumphs opposite the likes of Uriah Hall, Rick Story, Jake Ellenberger, Nate Marquardt, Johny Hendricks, Tim Kennedy, Michael Bisping, and Jacare Souza.
11-3 as a professional, four-fight UFC veteran, Imavov enters his second year under the promotion’s banner following a UFC Fight Island 4 debut back in October 2020.
Landing in the organization with a win over Jordan Williams, Imavov would return the following February with a close majority decision defeat to Phil Hawes, before the 25-year-old Dagestan native stopped common-foe, Heinisch last July and then Glendale Fight Club mainstay, Shahbazyan in November.
UFC 273 takes place on April 9. – with an undisputed featherweight championship clash between reigning champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and the #4 ranked contender, Chan Sung Jung booked for the event. A bantamweight title unification rematch between Aljamain Sterling, and interim champion, Petr Yan is set to also take co-headlining honors.
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