Kelvin Gastelum will take on Israel Adesanya for the UFC’s interim middleweight championship at next weekend’s UFC 236 event in Atlanta.
Gastelum was originally slated to challenge current UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker back at UFC 232, but that bout fell through when “The Reaper” was forced to withdraw from the contest due to health reasons.
With Whittaker on the shelf until later this summer, the promotion opted to create an interim middleweight championship bout between Gastelum and Adesanya.
Israel Adesanya was last seen in action at the aforementioned UFC 232 event, where he defeated former middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva via unanimous decision.
Despite earning five octagon victories in his first twelve months with the promotion, Kelvin Gastelum doesn’t believe that Israel Adesanya is ready for this “step up” in competition.
“I don’t think he’s been through the fire that I’ve been through,” Gastelum told MMA Junkie on Thursday. “Hasn’t fought the quality of opponents that I have.”
Adesanya holds wins over Rob Wilkinson, Martin Vettori, Derek Brunson, Brad Tavares and Anderson Silva during his short UFC career.
“You know, obviously he’s fought some great fighters,” Gastelum said. “But the top five guys are, any one of those top five guys can be the champion, and I don’t think he’s fought those kind of guys.”
Gastelum will enter UFC 236 on a two-fight win steak, this after scoring wins over Jacare Souza and Michael Bisping in his most recent octagon appearances.
Who do you think will emerge victorious when Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya square off in the co-main event of UFC 236 next weekend in Atlanta? Sound off in the comments section Penn Nation!