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Kelvin Gastelum returns to middleweight for UFC 188 bout with Nate Marquardt

Kelvin Gastelum will return to middleweight for a Mexico City showdown with veteran Nate Marquardt at UFC 188.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When Kelvin Gastelum missed the welterweight limit by 9 pounds against Tyron Woodley at UFC 183, it marked the 2nd time he'd missed weight and 3rd time overall that he had failed to weight 171 or less on the 1st attempt. Dana White gave the TUF 17 middleweight tournament winner the mandate that he go up back up to 185, and he'll make his return to the weight class this June.

UFC officials confirmed Gastelum will face Nate Marquardt at UFC 188 in Mexico City on June 13th.

Gastelum (10-1) lost a split decision to Woodley in a dreadful fight, putting an end to his undefeated record and run towards a title shot. The 23-year-old cited flu-like symptoms for his rough weight cut, which required hospitalization on the day of the weigh-ins. He was still cleared to fight even after weighing in at 180, and he predictably looked sluggish and far from the man who dispatched Jake Ellenberger at UFC 180.

Marquardt (33-14-2) was dominated by Brad Tavares in January, sending him to a 1-4 record in his last 5 fights. The 35-year-old dabbled in the welterweight division, capturing the Strikeforce crown with a KO of Tyron Woodley but then following that up with a series of one-sided losses to Tarec Saffiedine, Jake Ellenberger, and Hector Lombard. Marquardt, a former UFC title challenger at 185, came back to the weight class and submitted James Te Huna last June before the Tavares loss at UFC 182.

UFC 188 is headlined by a heavyweight title unification bout between champion Cain Velasquez and interim champion Fabricio Werdum. The co-main event pits former Bellator LW champion Eddie Alvarez against ex-Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez.

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