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Gastelum: I think Brazilian fan support will be divided when I fight Jacare at UFC 224

Kelvin Gastelum isn’t too scared of the Brazilian pressure when he faces Ronaldo Souza in Rio de Janeiro.

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UFC Fight Night: Bisping v Gastelum
Kelvin Gastelum
Photo by Hu Chengwei/Getty Images

Kelvin Gastelum feels at home in Brazil.

Although his TKO victory over Vitor Belfort was overturned due to a positive drug test for marijuana back in 2017, the middleweight contender says he really connected with the Brazilian people when he faced ‘The Phenom’ back in March of last year.

Now, as Gastelum makes the final preparations to take on another veteran in Ronaldo Souza, Kelvin tells Combate he believes the crowd will be split in half when they both meet in the middle of the Octagon.

“I chose to fight in Brazil because I love it here and I wanted to fight here again,” Gastelum said. “I really enjoyed the experience, the fans gave me a very warm welcome. I think the crowd will be split. I have many Brazilians telling me they are fans of mine, but there’s also some others who say I’m going to die. I think they’ll be divided when the fight starts.”

In fact, Kelvin went on to say he made his entire camp in Brazil, alongside coach Rafael Cordeiro. Now, just a few days of his bout against a Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace such as Jacare, Gastelum feels no need to hide his gameplan: making it a stand-up fight.

“I trained really hard for this fight and I’m ready for whatever might happen,” Gastelum said. “Jacare has knockout power and sharp jiu-jitsu. I think it’ll be a hard fight, but not impossible. I’m ready if it hits the ground and I’m ready if wants to strike. I’ve fought bigger men than him, so that doesn’t really matter to me. It’s simple, I just need to hit him. I think that’s the best gameplan, to try and keep it standing.”

Kelvin Gastelum and Ronaldo Souza are expected to meet at UFC 224, on May 12 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The card will be headlined by a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and challenger Raquel Pennington.

Purchase UFC 224: Nunes vs. Pennington pay-per-view on Amazon