In a major fight announcement in UFC’s Middleweight Division, Anderson Silva will meet rising star, Kelvin Gastelum.
Gastelum had advocated for the bout shortly after his stunning knockout of Vitor Belfort last Saturday in Fortaleza, Brazil. “There’s a guy really close to me that I know,” Gastelum said to commentator Brian Stann in the cage after his win in reference to Belfort. “He started a legend’s ass-whooping tour and I want to finish it. June 3 I want to go against Anderson [Silva] maybe in Rio.”
Silva responded, sort of, on Instagram on Monday saying that what “makes sense” is for him to fight Nick Diaz or Michael Bisping and no one else.
At some point between that post and Tuesday evening, Silva must have had a change of heart as the fight with Gastelum was made official for UFC 212 on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The fight will likely be second from the top underneath the Jose Aldo vs. Max Holloway UFC Featherweight Championship fight. Also on the card is a fight between top strawweights Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
Silva and Gastelum are currently ranked no. 8 and no. 10 respectively in MMATorch.com’s most recent rankings, although Gastelum may receive a boost when March’s rankings are released. Either way, Silva and Gastelum fall closely in the rankings, and a win in Rio will either put Silva back into title contention during the twilight of his career or catapult Gastelum into the role of one of the sport’s most unlikely top contenders.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: We will be talking about this more in an upcoming MMATorch Roundtable, but this wasn’t the direction I would have chosen for Silva. That said, I can see why UFC is making the fight. I suspect that they see a lot of potential in Gastelum as a fighter and a potential breakout star, so they are putting him in this position to: (a) Prove his worth at Middleweight, and (b) Give him a platform to have a star-making performance. I like Gastelum’s chances to win this fight immensely, but Silva may have one more great performance up his sleeve, so it should make for a fun fight.
WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-The California State Athletic Commission has officially enacted a ruling that a fighter’s win bonus can be fined if he or she miss weight before a fight. The former California fine was 20 percent of a fighter’s “show” purse but will now include 20 percent of their potential “win” purse which is often the same amount as the “show” money, effectively doubling the fine for missing weight. (SOURCE)
-UFC has cut several fighters from their roster according to the UFC Fighters Info Twitter account. Some notable names include former title challenger Valerie Letourneau, Brandon Thatch, and Li Jingliang.
-The Nevada Athletic Commission has rejected Alex Oliveira’s appeal of the no-contest decision rendered on their UFC 207 fight that saw Means deliver an illegal knee to a downed Oliveira’s head. Oliveira’s team argued he should have been awarded a win after Means admitted he threw the knees intentionally. Oliveira defeated Means this past weekend in a rematch by second round submission.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP…
-Roy Nelson vs. Alexander Volkov at UFC on Fox from Kansas City on April 15.
-“Bigfoot” Silva will fight Vitaly Minakov at Fight Nights Global on June 2 from St. Petersburg, Russia.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: TUESDAY NEWS DIGEST 3/14: Yoel Romero suggests Interim Middleweight Title fight with Anderson Silva, Cain update (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)