TUF’s Upset King opts for One More
Built like a Mack truck instead of the small engine that could do it, Ultimate Fighter season 17 finalist Kelvin Gastelum nonetheless snuck up on people on their way to Saturday’s Las Vegas final, defeating four opponents consecutive to reality TV although he only has five pro fights.
“I think people have counted me in every fight, and I haven’t had an easy fight,” said Gastelum of his run on the field. “I didn’t have an easy path to the final at all and I had to face some of the best guys in the tournament. But I proved to myself and to the world that I belong in the final. “
Which he did, deciding Kito Andrews, then subduing Bubba McDaniel and arresting Collin Hart before a semifinal submission by Josh Samman made him land in front of Uriah Hall for the TUF 17 trophy. It’s no surprise that Gastelum finds himself once again underrated, which is not surprising given the growing legend of New York Hall, something that the resident of Yuma, Arizona, watched every week .
“I watched it (the series), and they build it, but I don’t mind at all,” he said. “I know that once the fight comes, I will be there and I will fight it and I will break all the hype very soon.”
Teammates Chael Sonnen, Gastelum and Hall witnessed each other’s quest to survive the six-week competition, and although some recent TUF finals are not as heartbeat as the early seasons, this is a notable exception, with the buzz growing as fans wait to see if Hall’s knockout race continues or if Gastelum can do what he has been doing all season against all odds, and it’s victory. As for his reflections on Hall and combat, they go straight to the point.
“I see great potential,” said Gastelum de Hall. “But every time I watch it, I think about how I’m going to beat it, and I imagine myself brandishing this trophy on April 13.”
It is also focused as you will hear a fighter, and even though the show ended recording some time ago, the former state champion wrestler has yet to let his guard down. For him, the show and the quest are not over until the last bell on Saturday evening.
“I have a good group of guys who help me in wrestling and they have supported me a lot here at home and at the gym,” he said. “Everyone believes in me and I’m in a great environment and in a great frame of mind. We think we can beat him.”
If his frame of mind and his concentration are impressive, consider that he did all this at the age of 21, making him the youngest competitor in the history of TUF. On the one hand, you could say that it helped things, since young fighters don’t go home as much as those who are older, and with only six fights, an early exit from the show would not hurt his career as much budding. He does not agree with this assessment.
“I don’t think my youth had anything to do with it,” he said. “I had daily struggles like everyone else, and I really channeled all my energy and all my thoughts into each fight. I have been fighting for almost ten years and in college it was the same thing. I was around a group of guys for three to four months everyday of the wrestling season, and it was kind of the same experience there because we were all there for a reason. “
It’s enough. So let’s rephrase it and ask where its maturity comes from. The answer is laconic, but it says a lot.
“In my life, my family and I have gone through a lot and I really had to grow up quickly,” he said. On Saturday, however, he can make these past struggles just that – past struggles – and start a new life as a UFC fighter. That sounds good to him.
“I plan to win the show and I hope to have another fight or two during this year and really improve,” he said. “I’m here to really try to stay in the business for a long time and make a name for myself.”