Kelvin Gastelum’s making a quick turnaround after a disappointing and close split decision loss to Neil Magny last month, with the UFC announcing on Monday evening that he’ll meet Kyle Noke at UFC 195 on Jan. 2.
The 24-year-old winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17 is 11-2 on his career, with both losses coming by split decision under less than ideal circumstances. The first came against top contender Tyron Woodley in February after he was hospitalized due to a bad weight cut just before the event. The UFC had him continue despite that, and he was ineffective through the fight itself.
After a bounce back win over Nate Marquardt, the Magny fight came together on short notice when his original opponent, Matt Brown, was forced out due to injury. He dropped the first three rounds of the fight in an uncharacteristically slow start, but nearly stopped Magny in a fourth round that arguably should have been a 10-8 round, and finished strong in the fifth for what could have been a draw. Unfortunately for him, no judge gave him the significant edge in the fourth, and it went down as a loss.
As for Noke, the 35-year-old Australian scored his sixth UFC win last month, moving to 6-3 in the organization. Injuries have kept him from being as active as he’d like, but he’s won three of his last four going back to 2012, including two stoppage victories. The November win, coming in front of a home country crowd at UFC 193, saw him take out Peter Sobotta with a body kick that earned him a “Performance of the Night” award.
UFC 195 hits Las Vegas on pay-per-view on Jan. 2, headlined by the UFC Welterweight Championship bout between Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit.
Penick’s Analysis: Very, very good welterweight fight. Gastelum’s slow start really cost him against Magny, but it was an opponent he hadn’t been training for until the late switch. Noke has had several moments of brilliance in the cage, but he’s lost seven times in his career, and this won’t be an easy matchup. It’s a really good addition to the UFC 195 card, and it’s an appropriate fight given the night’s headliner. I like this fight a lot.
[Photo (c) Troy Taormina via USA Today Sports]