Two new bouts have been added to the UFC’s return to Mexico City this November, both of which will be of considerable intrigue to fight fans. UFC officials announced on Wednesday that welterweight contender Kelvin Gastelum will take on Jorge Masvidal, while Indiscutido reported news of Marcin Held making his Octagon debut against former lightweight title challenger Diego Sanchez.
Gastelum (12-2) defeated Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision at UFC 200, getting him back on the winning track after a split decision loss to Neil Magny in last November’s TUF: Latin America 2 Finale. By virtue of beating the highly ranked Hendricks, combined with Rory MacDonald’s departure from the promotion, Gastelum is the #5 ranked UFC welterweight contender. Masvidal (30-11) ended a two-fight losing skid (both defeats by split decision) with a unanimous decision victory over Ross Pearson at UFC 201. “Gamebred” moved up to welterweight after a controversial loss to Al Iaquinta in April 2015, and is 2-2 in the division. The 31-year-old is currently unranked, so this is a big chance for Masvidal to get himself into title contention.
Held (22-4) completed his Bellator MMA contract with a unanimous decision win over Dave Jansen in May. After parting ways with the promotion, the Polish submission specialist announced his UFC signing on Tuesday. Held had challenged for Bellator’s lightweight belt, but lost a decision to Will Brooks, who is also now in the UFC. Sanchez (26-9) suffered a TKO loss to Joe Lauzon at UFC 200, sending him to his first ever defeat via strikes. That thrashing was preceded by a unanimous decision win over Jim Miller, which marked his return to 155 lbs after a one-and-done featherweight appearance, a loss vs. Ricardo Lamas. Sanchez is just 3-5 in his last 8, with two of his wins (vs. Takanori Gomi and Ross Pearson) coming through highly disputed split decisions.
The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America 3 Finale (AKA UFC Fight Night 98) will be headlined by a lightweight battle between former champion Rafael dos Anjos and Tony Ferguson. The night’s main card will air live on Fox Sports 1.