Things are getting really interesting in the middleweight division right now. Kelvin Gastelum just knocked the lights out of former champion Michael Bisping at UFC Shanghai. This is an important victory for Gastelum after he suffered a submission defeat to Chris Weidman. While I don’t think this victory takes him all the way to a title shot, it is definitely going to place him in the top 5 among the likes of Weidman, Rockhold, and Romero.
How it went down?
One round is all it took for Gastelum to knock out Bisping who entered the octagon just three weeks after his title loss to Georges St. Pierre. The following video tweet shows how Gastelum knocked Bisping out with a mean left hook. Apart from the knockout punch, there never really was much of a fight. The entire bout got over in just two and a half minutes much to the disappointment of the former champion.
Despite his loss, Bisping can be credited as the one who saved UFC Shanghai after Anderson Silva tested positive for PEDs. Apart from the main event, there really wasn’t much to look forward to in this low-key event. With relatively new faces occupying the main card, Bisping came through when the UFC badly needed a fighter to save the event.
— ern.s3 (@ErnestSIII) November 25, 2017
Losing the title to St. Pierre seemed to have made him hungry again. However, it wasn’t such a good idea to test that against someone like Gastelum who has been stopped only once in his career. Even in the fight that he was stopped, he rocked Weidman with a solid punch only to be stopped by the bell in the first round.
Without a doubt, Gastelum packs a punch. This knockout is just another testament to that fact. There’s a lot more of that massive power we would like to see in the upcoming fights. However, the next move of Gastelum is pretty much uncertain at the moment.
What’s next for Gastelum?
Kelvin Gastelum is at an ambiguous place right now. Though he is gaining victory after victory in the middleweight division, the real question looming over him is – can he become the middleweight champ? His defeat of Bisping hasn’t made anything conclusive in my opinion. So far, he has earned the title “legend killer” after impressive victories over Tim Kennedy, Vitor Belfort, and now Michael Bisping. However, can he beat the likes of Derek Brunson, Luke Rockhold, and Robert Whittaker? Only time will tell.
Weight management is another big problem for Gastelum. Considering the fact that he barely made weight for UFC Shanghai (he weighed 186 without his shorts), I am quite doubtful of his return to welterweight. A little more discipline and a good dietician? perhaps. If he decides to make the move, he has to prove that in the next couple of fights.
After the fight at UFC Shanghai, Gastelum called out Robert Whittaker for a title bout (?) at Syndey. I am not sure how this will go down among other contenders like Weidman, Rockhold, Romero, etc. Whittaker’s next must be a title unification bout against Georges St. Pierre. I am hoping that St. Pierre will defend the title soon. In case he doesn’t, the management must do something about the middleweight title.
As far as Gastelum is concerned, he can either take on Rockhold or have a rematch with Weidman. Both are solid options. One more victory in the middleweight division will make him the title contender without a doubt.