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Kelvin Gastelum is the toughest fighter in the UFC

Though he's 1-5 in his last six matches, UFC veteran Kelvin Gastelum is still proving why his fights are must-watch television.

The UFC has gone dormant for a month, but there still hasn’t been a shortage of news. Fights have been announced, fighters have moved promotions, and so on. We’re already off to a hot start, especially with Jake Paul potentially entering the octagon in PFL.

But the first UFC event of 2023 isn’t one to sleep on. The main event between Nassourdine Imavov and Kelvin Gastelum will bring the fireworks. Imavov is an exciting prospect who’s on the come up, hailing from Dagestan but moving to France to learn under coach Fernand López. He’s one to look out for in the future. But it’s his opponent that has us fired up.

His fights are always main-event worthy

It’s bound to pop off when you tune in for Kelvin Gastelum. The man is a warrior, constantly taking fights on short notice no matter the opponent. He’s only fought the top contenders at middleweight and made a lot of noise doing so. 

Robert Whittaker, Israel Adesanya, and Jarod Cannonier are just some of the fighters Gastelum has faced. Most of his bouts aren’t even planned–opponents pull out due to injury or other unfortunate circumstances, and Gastelum stays ready for war. 

But his interim middleweight title fight against former champion Adesanya catapulted Gastelum to UFC folklore. It was named fight of the year in 2019 by many publications, and it’s an all-time classic. If you want to get a nice adrenaline rush, just watch that fight. They both hit each other with everything, and at one point, it seemed they wouldn’t make it to the final bell.

Gastelum has taken the hard road in the UFC

It wasn’t an easy road to the UFC for Gastelum. After an MMA record of 5-0 upon his arrival on The Ultimate Fighter, he was the last fighter selected for the show. He was chosen by Chael Sonnen and joined his team to be coached over time. But Gastelum went from last to first, winning the middleweight tournament with a split-decision win over Uriah Hall and earning himself a UFC contract.

Gastelum has earned many performance bonuses throughout his career, winning fight of the night four times and performance of the night three times. He’s got the Mexican heart as his family is from Obregon, Sonora. Mexican fighters are known for their resiliency and being tough to knock out, and Gastelum lives up to that stereotype. 

But due to him taking short-notice fights and the most brutal wars, he’s lost five out of his last six fights. A 16-8 record, though not superb, is still quite respectable considering his origins. Gastelum hopes to capture some of those captivating knockouts once again in 2023. But, no questions asked, he’s one tough dude.