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The careers of two Top 15 middleweights will intersect when “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum faces Ian Heinisch in a pivotal UFC 258 confrontation this Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Neither man can afford a loss in one of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s deepest and most competitive divisions.
Gastelum enters the cage on a career-worst three-fight losing streak, the Kings MMA representative having taken a surprising turn toward irrelevance. He last competed at UFC Fight Night 172, where he was victimized by a Jack Hermansson heel hook just 72 seconds into their July 18 co-main event. Heinisch, meanwhile, put the brakes on a two-fight losing streak on June 6, when he cut down Roufusport mainstay Gerald Meerschaert with punches 1:14 into the first round of their UFC 250 pairing.
As Gastelum and Heinisch make final preparations ahead of their showdown, a look at some of the numbers that have accompanied them to this point:
29: Years of age for Gastelum, who was born in San Jose, California, on Oct. 24, 1991—the same day that “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry died.
4: Submission wins on the Gastelum resume, accounting for 27% of his career total (15). His methods of choice: three rear-naked chokes and one kimura. Gastelum owns six other victories by knockout or technical knockout and five by decision.
55: Seconds needed for Gastelum to throttle Bill Smallwood with a rear-naked choke at a Ringside Unified Fighting event on July 7, 2012. Having occurred in his fourth professional outing, it still ranks as the fastest finish of his 22-fight career.
124: Significant strikes landed by Gastelum in a three-round unanimous decision over Johny Hendricks at UFC 200 on July 9, 2016. It remains his highest single-fight total in the category.
.796: Cumulative winning percentage between the six men—Hermansson, Darren Till, Israel Adesanya, Chris Weidman, Neil Magny and Tyron Woodley—who have managed to defeat Gastelum. They own a combined record of 117-28-2.
32: Years of age for Heinisch, who was born in Denver on Aug. 5, 1988. “Cocktail,” “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” “Die Hard,” “A Fish Called Wanda” and “Coming to America” were the Top 5 movies at the domestic box office at the time.
6: First-round finishes to Henisch’s credit. His list of victims: Meerschaert, Justin Sumter, Gabriel Checco, Lucas Rota, Jeremy Spelts and Dante Florez.
54: Combined victories between the three men—Omari Akhmedov, Derek Brunson and Markus Perez—who have beaten Heinisch. They own a cumulative .747 winning percentage.
2: Regional championships on the Heinisch mantle. He laid claim to the Sparta Combat League middleweight title in 2015, then captured the Legacy Fighting Alliance middleweight crown in 2018.
5: Heinisch wins by knockout or technical knockout, providing him with 36% of his professional total (14). He holds two other victories by submission and seven more by decision.