In a short-notice appearance for Kelvin Gastelum, whose weight cutting problems leave his welterweight future in question, the TUF 17 winner returned to middleweight and dispatched Tim Kennedy with a clinical performance on the feet.
Kennedy took down Gastelum multiple times in the first 90 seconds, staying on him like glue. He took Gastelum’s back, but Kelvin was able to get back to his feet. Kennedy kept kneeing him in the thigh, buttocks, and body, and wouldn’t let go of Gastelum. He didn’t wriggle free until about 1:25 left in the round, and Gastelum tagged Kennedy with a hard left hand a few seconds later. Kelvin outboxed Kennedy strongly and hurt him towards the end of the round. Tim’s right eye was swollen considerably.
Gastelum was the one dictating the action to start round 2. He stuffed Kennedy’s takedown attempt and he was the one kneeing Tim. Kennedy scrambled and had a hold of Gastelum against the fence but couldn’t get him down. Kennedy looked extremely uncomfortable and lacking in footwork when striking with Gastelum. A good uppercut by Gastelum was answered by a takedown from Kennedy, who was reversed immediately. Gastelum’s jab and his straight left were giving Kennedy serious problems.
Round 3 was more of the same in terms of Gastelum’s striking dominance over Kennedy. Tim was exhausted, labored, and Gastelum utterly schooled Kennedy with his striking and hurt him with a combination of kicks and punches, capped off by a left hand that dropped the bloodied and battered Kennedy for good.
Official result: Kelvin Gastelum def. Tim Kennedy via TKO (punches) at 2:45 of round 3