It was announced earlier this week that Kelvin Gastelum (13-2) will head down to Fortaleza, Brazil to take on former world champion Vitor Belfort (25-13) on March 11. Gastelum wasted little time in signing to fight, again, just days after his UFC 206 TKO win over Tim Kennedy.
Apparently, the former (and future?) welterweight Gastelum is eager to extend his win streak and beat another high-profile opponent. For his part, Belfort is on a bit of a skid, and likely sees a chance to prove that he can still beat the young lions of the UFC.
There's a lot on the line for both men in this exciting spring match up, so read on to find out a little more of what Gastelum and Belfort have riding on this contest!
What's at stake for Kelvin Gastelum:
The TUF winner has looked excellent thus far in his young career - losing only to current welterweight champ Tyron Woodley and top contender Neil Magny. Where he's struggled most has been simply with controlling how heavy he gets in between fights.
After failing to make weight multiple times for welterweight, the 5'9 Gastelum has been essentially forced to move up 15 pounds to compete at middleweight. He says he can still return to welterweight, eventually, but after beating Tim Kennedy, Gastelum suddenly finds himself as an immediate title contender at middleweight, just as he was at welterweight.
Gastelum seems to have sense enough to know he should be fighting at welterweight given the giants available at middleweight down the road, but he sees opportunity in the big name of "The Phenom," and wants to steal some of the Brazilian's shine on his own home turf before getting his nutrition together and dropping back down.
Gastelum is taking a big risk in fighting someone so much older on a two-fight losing streak, because few people will give him much credit for beating the 39 year-old Belfort at this point in his career, if he manages to do so. Furthermore, Belfort is always a threat with his lightning-quick punches, and he'll have thousands of partisan fans trying to intimidate Gastelum.
If #KelvinGastelum loses to Belfort, his momentum is stopped, hard, and he'll have to start from scratch at either welterweight or middleweight. If he wins, he'll do what he is expected to do, but at least he'll have done so on a big, main event stage, and prove that he can get the job done in hostile territory.
What's at stake for Vitor Belfort:
#VitorBelfort is basically just risking his health at this point in his legendary career. In terms of standings, Belfort is no longer a contender, after losing three out of his last four, all by TKO.
After two decades of professional fighting, Belfort's legacy is set in stone and certainly isn't diminished by recent losses. He's basically fighting for love and money, it would seem.
The Brazilian's fans have to be concerned for his brain health, however, considering that he's given and taken blows for a living since he was a teenager, and that he's being beaten fairly easily these days. Belfort may believe that a win over Gastelum could put him back into title-contention, however.
Hopefully, the black belt is looking at this bout as a great note to go out on, though. If Belfort manages to beat Gastelum, he'll thrill millions of Brazilians, likely cement out-of-ring opportunities for himself and prove that he still has it in him to beat anyone, of any age, on any given night.