One-time interim UFC middleweight title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum has called for a pairing with division prospect, Edmen Shahbazyan, with the two strikers hoping to rebound to the win column in their next outings.
Kings MMA and Rafael Cordeiro product, Gastelum dropped his last three Octagon outings on the trot, most recently falling victim to a quickfire heel-hook submission to Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson at UFC Fight Island 2 in July. Prior to that, Gastelum dropped a relatively forgettable split decision to Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till at UFC 244, after a Fight of the Year matchup with current champion, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya at UFC 236 in March of last year.
Glendale Fight Club mainstay, Shahbazyan saw his meteoric rise in the UFC halted momentarily at UFC Vegas 5 at the start of August, where he suffered a third-round knockout loss to Derek Brunson in a short-notice main event tilt.
Slipping to the #8 rank in the official middleweight pile, and without a victory since May of 2018, Gastelum has issued a callout to Shahbazyan, claiming all that’s left for the fight to fall into place is the Californian’s signature of a contract.
“Hope all is well during this pandemic @edmenshahbazyan. I’ve been waiting to sign a contract, and all we need is your signature. Thank you @AliAbdelaziz00 @Mickmaynard2 @danawhite @ufc“
A poised striker, Gastelum had earned his number-one contender status at 185-pounds via victories over first former champion, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping via strikes, and then former Strikeforce middleweight best, Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza. As well as those notable wins, Gastelum, who won the seventeenth instalment of The Ultimate Fighter, has also bested the likes of Uriah Hall, Rick Story, Jake Ellenberger, Nate Marquardt, Johny Hendricks, and Tim Kennedy.
Shahbazyan, a product of Dana White’s Contender Series back in July of 2018, has amassed an eye-catching 4-1 Octagon résumé already.
The 22-year-old Shotokan karate black belt had notched four straight wins prior to his loss to Brunson – stopping Brad Tavares, Jack Marshman, and Charles Bryd, after a split judging win over Darren Stewart.