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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Kelvin Gastelum after loss to Robert Whittaker?

UFC Fight Night: Whittaker v Gastelum Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone with UFC Vegas 24 storming UFC APEX last Saturday night (April 17, 2021) in Las Vegas, Nevada. Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Abdul Razak Alhassan, who suffered his third straight loss in his UFC career after getting out-wrestled by Jacob Malkoun.

And Bantamweight bruiser Anthony Birchak, who was knocked out by Tony Gravely. But, which fighter is suffering from the worst post-fight hangover, now a few days removed from the show?

Kelvin Gastelum.

Coming into his headlining bout against Robert Whittaker, Gastelum had one month to get into combat sports shape and prepare for the former Middleweight champion after agreeing to step in and face “The Reaper” after Paulo Costa bowed out. Getting his weight right in such short time was probably his biggest challenge because Gastelum had already prepared to do battle against Whittaker a few years back before the fight was canceled at the eleventh hour.

Still, Gastelum gave it all he had on fight night, going the distance with the former champ. But it just wasn’t enough to pull out a win because Whittaker was on point in every facet of the fight game. He out-struck Gastelum and handled him in the wrestling department. While Gastelum did have a few shining moments, it was pretty much all Whittaker for five rounds.

The loss drops Gastelum to 1-4 in his last five UFC bouts, a pretty tough skid for a man many felt could be a champion at either Welterweight or Middleweight. With good reason, too, because Gastelum started his UFC career at 10-3-1, scoring big wins over Tim Kennedy, Nate Marquardt, and Johnny Hendricks, and let’s not forget his brutal knockout win over former 185-pound champion, Michael Bisping.

Despite the setback, Gastelum was in good spirits and vows to come back stronger than ever.

“Came up short tonight. Appreciate everyone’s support I’m gonna go back and make sure that doesn’t happen next time,” Gastelum wrote on Twitter.

Gastelum may drop a few spots in the rankings given his recent struggles, but one or two big wins could put him right back in the mix. And as he has shown in the past, he always has a puncher's chance.

As for what could be next for the Kings MMA-trained fighter, perhaps a showdown against Kevin Holland would be ideal since they are both struggling and both prefer to stand-and-bang.

Holland is on a two-fight losing streak and was last seen getting dominated by Marvin Vettori. “Trailblazer” did promise to brush up on his wrestling moving forward, but he likely wouldn’t need too if he gets matched up against Gastelum next.

There are other options out there but most middleweights are booked at the moment. Both Gastelum and Holland will likely take some time off to regroup after competing this month and a turnaround time would be around the same month.


For complete UFC Vegas 24 results and coverage click HERE.