MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/12: Kelvin Gastelum debating whether to stay at Middlweight after Saturday’s performance (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Kelvin Gastelum (photo credit Tom Szczerbowski © USA Today Sports)

Kelvin Gastelum feels strongly that his ideal weight class is welterweight, but after defeating Tim Kennedy at UFC 206, he may be willing to stay at middleweight if the right fight presents itself.

Gastelum told the media at the UFC 206 post-fight press conference that he would be interested in a fight with veteran middleweight contender Vitor Belfort in Brazil. “I heard they need another replacement in Brazil with Vitor Belfort, so if they want to make that happen, then I’m willing to step up and do that,” Gastelum said.

Belfort is coming off consecutive losses to top middleweights Jacare Souza and Gegard Mousasi and there hasn’t been an official fight announcement, but it would make sense if UFC had him pegged for the upcoming March show in Brazil.

Gastelum was adamant in the cage after his win on Saturday that he had his sights set on moving back to welterweight, going as far as saying that he would show up at UFC President Dana White’s house weighing 170 pounds. He told the media why he feels 170 is best for him.

“I feel like 170 is my optimal weight class,” he said. “My height and my reach are at a disadvantage at 185. These guys are over 6-feet tall and have a major height and reach advantage over me, so I feel like 170 is where my body type fits best.”

With the troubles Gastelum has had making 170 in the past, UFC isn’t likely to let him back in the division so soon, so a fight with Belfort at 185 may be the fight to make.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: I really liked Gastelum at 185. If he can convincingly beat someone at Tim Kennedy’s level, there’s no reason he can’t stay competitive in the division. Just as Donald Cerrone has had a resurgence at a higher weight class, I think Kelvin Gastelum can do the same if he’s willing to commit to 185. A fight and win over Belfort should be more than enough to cement his place as a top 10 middleweight. It may be a tougher path to the top, but in the end it could be the best move for Gastelum’s health and career.


-Nate Diaz, Jon Jones, and Brock Lesnar all have hearings scheduled for Thursday with the Nevada State Athletic Commission. According to MMA Junkie, all three men have reached settlements with the NSAC, which should be revealed on Thursday.

-Jon Jones submitted Dan Henderson at Submission Underground last night on FloCombat. He did not have the chiseled physique he was showing off earlier this year. Jones then went on to challenge Chael Sonnen for the Jan. 29 event.

-Jose Aldo is telling Brazilian media that he will be fighting on Feb. 11.

-Bruna Vegas vs. Helen Harper is off of Bellator 169 and Sinead Kavanagh vs. Elina Kallionidou has been added in its place.

-Brandon Thatch will step in for Sabah Homasi to fight Niko Price at UFC 207 on Dec. 30 from Las Vegas.

NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/11: Fallout from UFC 206 including fight bonuses, Pettis’s post-fight decision, UFC 208 update, McGregor pic (w/Analysis)

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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