Kelvin Gastelum was at one moment in time considered to be a potential future Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champion. Fast forward to present day, and the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) winner is on a three-fight losing skid and hanging on to his days inside the Octagon by a thread.
The thought of dropping four in a row will give anyone the motivation needed to lay it all on the line, which is the reason Ian Heinisch — the man who will face Gastelum at UFC 258 this weekend (Sat., Feb. 13, 2021) — is prepared to face the best Gastelum ever inside the cage, though you just don’t know which version will show up come fight night.
“With Kelvin you never know the guy who’s going to show up, but the guy we’re training for to show up is the guy who fought Israel Adesanya,” Heinisch told MMA Junkie. “He’s on a three-fight skid, his back’s against the wall and that’s when people usually fight the hardest. So that’s what we’re expecting, but I feel stylistically it’s gonna be a very fun fight to watch, especially the first three minutes.”
Gastelum looked great against the current Middleweight king, Adesanya, at UFC 236; however, he has dropped two more fights since then. Still, he has proven that he is a tough draw and has the stand-up arsenal to give anyone problems. In Heinisch’s assessment, Gastelum relies solely on one aspect of the fight game, which is why he feels he has the advantage.
“I feel like I just have to mix it up. Between (the) clinch, striking with him, taking him down, just mixing everything up, just being super unpredictable. His timing is impeccable and so I can’t be the guy who’s one-dimensional. I feel he’s a little one-dimensional, and I’m gonna expose that.”
If it does stay predominantly on the feet, Heinisch is ready for a war and prepared to eat as many bombs from Gastelum to deliver his own, which should provide fans a memorable scrap.
“Fans are gonna see a high-paced, exciting fight,” Heinisch said. “I know he’s ready to throw down, he’s ready to get his hands on me. I feel the same way. My path to victory is walking forward, eating shots, giving shots and just making this an exciting fight and making the fight go everywhere and just being unpredictable.
“So, tune in, it’s gonna be fireworks, we’re gonna try and steal the show with ‘Fight of the Night’ or hopefully ‘Performance of the Night’ for me, and fans can definitely look forward to this one,” he concluded.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 258 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 258: “Usman vs. Burns” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.
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