In what is arguably the most intriguing fight on the entire UFC 224 card, top welterweights Kelvin Gastelum (14-3 1NC MMA, 9-3 1NC UFC) and Jacare Souza (25-5 1NC MMA, 8-2 UFC) will collide in a fight that has massive title implications for the victor. UFC 224 will take place this Saturday, May 12th, at the Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The main card will kick off at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, whilst the Fox Sports 1 prelims will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET. Four fights will take place on the Fight Pass prelims, which start at 6:15 p.m. ET.
How do these two stack up?
Gastelum: 26 years old | 5’9” | 71” reach
Souza: 38 years old | 6’1” | 72” reach
What have these two done recently?
Gastelum: W - Michael Bisping (KO) | L Chris Weidman (SUB) | NC - Vitor Belfort (Originally a TKO win for Gastelum, overruled due to a positive marijuana test)
Souza: W - Derek Brunson (KO) | L - Robert Whittaker (TKO) | W - Tim Boetsch (SUB)
How did these two get here?
Since making the move back up to 185-pounds, Gastelum has rejuvenated his performances inside the octagon. He most recently rebounded off of a submission loss to Chris Weidman by brutally knocking out the former UFC middleweight Michael Bisping at UFC Shanghai. Despite UFC president Dana White insisting on several occasions he will not let him fight at 170-pounds again, Gastelum has recently discussed his interest in a rematch with UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley, who Gastelum lost to by split decision at UFC 183.
Many people didn’t think Jacare had a future in the middleweight division following his loss to Robert Whittaker in April of last year, but Souza silenced those naysayers back in January when he knocked out Derek Brunson in their rematch at UFC on FOX 27. The loss to Whittaker was just the second Jacare has dropped in his UFC career, suffering his first loss to the hands of Yoel Romero by split decision at UFC 194. Jacare has recently spoken about how he feels there is still plenty of time for another title run in his UFC career, and a win over Gastelum would put him right back in the mix for title contention.
Why should you care?
This fight is must watch not just because of the stakes it has on the middleweight division, but because of the fascinating style matchup as well. Gastelum has shown his power has only improved since moving up in weight, and it will be a big test to see if he can keep the fight where he wants it, which is undoubtedly on the feet.