Kelvin Gastelum felt like he was robbed of an opportunity to become the middleweight champion after seeing how the UFC 243 main event went down last weekend.
The Nevada-based promotion returned to Australia last Sunday for the UFC 243 pay-per-view event, which was headlined by a unification bout featuring the middleweight champions, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker and Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya.
The fight lived up to its billing as the biggest sporting event in the Oceanic region after recording a sold-out crowd of more than 57 000.
However, the country’s local hero, Whittaker, failed to meet expectations.
It was an unexpected ending for ‘The Reaper’ as he was knocked out by ‘The Last Stylebender’ just in the second round of the fight, to absorb his first loss at 185 pounds.
Adesanya, meanwhile, kept his perfect MMA record alive (17- 0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) while capturing the undisputed middleweight title.
Israel Adesanya Knocks Out Robert Whitaker, Becomes Undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion At UFC 243https://t.co/tIIxtkbenD
— BroBible (@BroBible) October 6, 2019
Days after the Melbourne card, Gastelum, who previously fought for the interim title, said he was disappointed with what Whittaker showed on his highly-anticipated return.
“It was rather disappointing to be honest, to see Robert Whittaker go out the way that he did,” Gastelum said, per MMA Junkie.
“I think maybe the ring rust was a factor. I feel like back in February, I was robbed of an opportunity. To see him go out there and perform the way that he did was disappointing.”
Gastelum and Whittaker were scheduled to fight at UFC 234 last February, but the latter pulled out in the last hour due to injury.
Gastelum ended up locking horns with Adesanya in a fight for the ages last April.
“Big ups to ‘Izzy’ – he showed up big and fought his fight.”
“He looked great. I think my respect for him grew even more. He’s a guy I really enjoy watching and respect now I think even more. But at the same time, he’s got what I want.”
“I feel like him and I – the rematch will be inevitable.”
“It has to happen, without a doubt. I know he’s got a few things to do before, and so do I.”
— BJ Penn (@bjpenndotcom) October 7, 2019
Making A Statement
Adesanya is likely to face Paulo Costa next for his first title-defence while Gastelum will square off with a middleweight newcomer next month.
“I have Darren Till in November, but I can’t help but to look ahead of that. Just because I want to get back to where I was and fight ‘Izzy’ again. I know what I can do.”
“I think my plan for this fight is to go out there and dominate.”
With Gastelum eyeing a rematch with Adesanya, he has all the motivations to make a statement in his fight against Till.
“No matter what it is. No matter if it’s me knocking him out in the first round, which I think I can do and can happen, or me going out there and submitting him.”
“I think I’m just going to go out there – I have to make a statement.”
“I have to make a statement and put on a dominant performance like you guys haven’t seen. Honestly, I’m so fired up for this fight.”
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Darren Till is booked for UFC 244 on November 2nd in New York City, per @bokamotoESPN
Fight is at middleweight 🥊 pic.twitter.com/TiXjFdolW5
— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) August 26, 2019
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum)