Home MMA NewsLatest News Kelvin Gastelum accepts Shavkat Rakhmonov’s challenge: ‘It’s either sink or swim’

Kelvin Gastelum accepts Shavkat Rakhmonov’s challenge: ‘It’s either sink or swim’

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Kelvin Gastelum enthusiastically embraces Shavkat Rakhmonov’s challenge, ready to deliver exactly what he requested.

In May, Gastelum made an announcement that after seven years of competing in the middleweight division, he would finally make a drop back down to 170 pounds for his next fight. Following this announcement, Rakhmonov, currently ranked as the fifth best welterweight according to the MMA Hook Global Rankings, issued a callout on Twitter, expressing his desire to be Gastelum’s first opponent upon his return.

Rakhmonov’s tweet read, “Should I be the one to welcome Kelvin back to 170? @danawhite @seanshelby” [link to tweet].

After taking some time to consider the proposal, Gastelum happily accepts.

“I appreciate the callout,” Gastelum expressed on his YouTube channel. “Though I thought it lacked a little excitement, I do like the fight. These are the types of fights I desire in the welterweight division. It places me right in the mix, swimming alongside the top contenders. It’s a sink or swim situation, and I welcome it. He’s ranked fifth or sixth in the welterweight division. This fight would propel me into some thrilling matchups, assuming I emerge victorious, which I undoubtedly will.”

“It’s been a couple of weeks since the tweet. I’ve been on vacation, so it took me some time to address it. But now, I’m ready to respond and officially accept the challenge. Shavkat Rakhmonov, I accept your challenge at 170 pounds. Not only that, I’ll even propose a date. Dana White mentioned a grand Mexican Independence Day event in Las Vegas, which falls on September 16. As an outstanding Mexican American, I would gladly represent my heritage and our future. Let’s make it happen on September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena or any other suitable location. As Gennady Golovkin, the man from Kazakhstan, would say, ‘Big drama show.’ Let’s get it on, Shavkat. I accept your challenge.”

As a former winner of The Ultimate Fighter and a previous interim title challenger in the middleweight division, Gastelum continues to be a prominent figure in the sport, attracting a plethora of potential opponents for his first welterweight comeback fight. Gastelum explains that Rakhmonov stands out as an appealing choice due to his ranking in the division and his thrilling fighting style.

“I genuinely like this fight. This man is all about relentless action,” Gastelum affirms. “He’s either taking hits or delivering them. He has a 100 percent finishing rate, remains undefeated at welterweight, and has been making significant waves in the division, grabbing headlines left and right. I would love to be the one to mark that ‘1’ on his 16-0 record. Let it be 16-1 on September 16; let’s make it happen.”

As Gastelum points out, Rakhmonov boasts a flawless MMA career, with all 17 of his wins coming by way of stoppage.

Most recently, Rakhmonov secured a submission victory over Geoff Neal in March, positioning himself on the brink of title contention. In contrast, Gastelum has faced difficulties in recent years, losing five out of six fights in the middleweight division. However, despite their disparate career trajectories at present, Gastelum firmly believes that when they eventually clash, Rakhmonov will find himself in significant trouble.

“Stylistically, I pose a significant challenge for him,” Gastelum asserts. “He tends to come forward, occasionally displaying sloppiness, and I will exploit that. I’ll either connect with my fists

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