UFC held their third Fight Island event last night and this night was filled with submission victories, with a total of 5 submission victories on the prelims and main card combined. We were crowned with a new Flyweight Champion in Deivesson Figueiredo, who dominated Joseph Benavidez, finishing the fight in the first round after choking Benavidez who looked lifeless throughout the fight. Further down the card. Rafael Fizlev showed off his matrix-like skills in his win over Marc Diakiese by decision and Ariane Lipski beat Luana Carolina in the Women’s Flyweight division with a brilliant reversal from a calf slicer into a kneebar for a submission win in the first round. However, I think the most impactful news to come from last night action has to be Kelvin Gastelum suffering his 3rd loss in a row.
Gastelum lost to Jack Hermansson via another submission in the co-main event in the first round due to poor wrestling from the American which easily allowed his opponent to gain a heel hook for the victory. Gastelum’s last victory came over two years ago against Ronaldo Souza at UFC 224 and we have to question is middleweight really the right weight class for Kelvin.
Kelvin used to fight at welterweight prior to his move up a division and in the 170lbs division even though Kelvin took a few losses, he fought against some of the best fighters in the division, such as Neil Magny and former champion Tyron Woodley. I personally think he could compete with the likes of Gilbert Burns and Usman at the top of the division but I believe Kelvin is more comfortable cutting weight to reach 185lbs over 170lbs which is why he chooses to fight with the bigger guys which could be detrimental to his career.
Gastelum is definitely one of my favourite fighters and at 28 years old has a long way to go in his MMA career, I think his biggest problem is his weight. I think if there was a division between 170 and 185lbs that would be perfect for Kelvin as 170 seems to be too low and difficult for him to cut weight and 185lbs is too high and he’s forced to face bigger guys more suitable for the division.
To me, it seems he’s stuck between choosing what’s best for his career or choosing what’s best for his physical and mental health as cutting weight constantly does damage the body and you’ve got to wonder how he’ll fair constantly cutting more weight as he ages and losing fat becomes even more difficult.
Kelvin is in a tough spot and I hope he makes the best decision for him, but I personally think it’s time to move back to 170lbs.