Maybe you still think Kelvin Gastelum is an elite welterweight with an extra 15 pounds on him, and you may be right. However, regardless of whether or not Gastelum ever makes 170 pounds again, this update of the official Sherdog rankings has him right in the middle of things at 185.
Gastelum’s 2017 campaign has been complicated, to say the least. Forced up to 185 because of his constant battle with the scale at welterweight, “The Ultimate Fighter 17” winner met faded Vitor Belfort in March, destroying him in less than four minutes to set up a potential June showdown with another Brazilian legend in Anderson Silva. Unfortunately, Gastelum tested positive for cannabinoid metabolites, voiding his Belfort victory and nixing the Silva contest. Instead, Gastelum was rebooked for July, headlining UFC on Fox 25 against former middleweight king Chris Weidman, a man he nearly knocked out in the first round before succumbing to an arm-triangle choke in the third. The UFC opted to rebook the Silva contest for Nov. 25 to headline its mainland China debut, but naturally, knowing Gastelum’s fortunes, “The Spider” was then flagged for a potential drug violation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
As they say, though, all is well that ends well. Instead of Silva, Gastelum wound up taking on a more relevant opponent at UFC Fight Night 122 in Shanghai: recently deposed middleweight champ Michael Bisping. Even better for Gastelum -- and certainly worse for the UFC’s self-regulatory reputation -- “The Count” was just three weeks removed from a violent title loss to Georges St. Pierre, making the Arizona native’s job that much easier. Gastelum needed just 2:30 to remove Bisping from consciousness and join our middleweight rankings at No. 6.
Bisping, who began the month as the No. 1 middleweight in the world and a part of our pound-for-pound list, tumbles to the seventh spot in defeat. Coincidentally, Gastelum’s ascent from our bubble list has also knocked Silva from the 10th spot to the “other contender” periphery. The middleweight contenders list is also where we find the lone other change in this update: With his Nov. 19 win over four-time Olympic judoka Daniel Kelly in Sydney, Elias Theodorou is now 6-2 in the Octagon and our figurative 15th man at 185 pounds.
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