Ultimate Fighting Championship’s (UFC) Mexican Independence Day celebration is official.
UFC will return to the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sept. 16, 2023, for a big “Fight Night” event. Indeed, Dana White confirmed today that the recently reported headliner of the card, Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko 2 for the women’s Flyweight title, while announcing the co-main event. The Ultimate Fighter 17 (TUF) winner and perennial Middleweight contender, Kelvin Gastelum (18-8, 1 NC), is officially returning to Welterweight when he takes on undefeated No. 6-ranked contender, Shavkat Rakhmonov (17-0).
White noted that the event will air on ESPN+ and won’t be a pay-per-view (PPV).
Rakhmonov was most recently linked to a match up with Belal Muhammad after current 170-pound champion, Leon Edwards, successfully defended his title against Kamaru Usman at UFC 286. However, plans quickly changed when Muhammad accepted a short-notice opportunity against Gilbert Burns one month later in UFC 288’s co-main event.
Muhammad won via unanimous decision, continuing his ascent toward a title shot.
“The Nomad,” meanwhile, continued his incredible win streak with a third round standing rear-naked choke against Geoff Neal in March 2023 (watch highlights). The finish continued Rakhmonov’s ridiculous trend of avoiding the judges’ scorecards, pushing his balanced finish count to nine submissions and eight knockouts.
Gastelum, on the other hand, last fought at Welterweight when defeating Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision at UFC 200 in July 2016. The one-time interim Middleweight title challenger recently returned to form with a strong showing against Chris Curtis in April 2023, earning a unanimous decision nod that snapped a two-fight losing skid.
The current UFC Las Vegas line up can be seen below:
- 125 lbs.: (C)Alexa Grasso vs. Valentina Shevchenko
- 170 lbs.: Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. Kelvin Gastelum
- 185 lbs.: Chris Curtis vs. Anthony Hernandez
- 115 lbs.: Lupita Godinez vs. Sam Hughes
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