Rising UFC welterweight Kelvin Gastelum got the biggest win of his MMA career at last Saturday’s (November 15, 2014) UFC 180 from Mexico City, submitting Jake Ellenberger with a rear naked choke to crack the crowded welterweight Top 10 at a lofty No. 7.
The win put Gastelum in line for a huge fight his next time out, and it appears that the UFC has wasted little time in deciding who his opponent will be. Gastelum will battle No. 3-ranked Tyron “The Chosen One” Woodley in the co-main event of January 31’s UFC 183 from Las Vegas.
Woodley was last seen destroying No. 10 Dong Hyun Kim in the co-main event of August 23’s UFC Fight Night 48, continuing his up-and-down trend in the Octagon after a lopsided loss to Rory MacDonald at June’s UFC 174.
The massively muscled Woodley will serve as Gastelum’s next toughest test as he looks to keep his undefeated record in what may be the most talented division in all of MMA.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 middleweight winner has looked nothing less than unstoppable since cutting down to welterweight, defeating Ellenberger, Nico Musoke, Rick Story, and Brian Melancon in rapid succession.
Woodley has a lot to lose, but he’s ready for the huge bout, which will serve as the lead-in to the blockbuster Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz main event. Woodley spoke up to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani to voice the reasoning behind the booking:
“I’m excited to compete against Kelvin Gastelum Jan. 31st as the co-main event of UFC 183 It’s a big card, and lots of eyes will be watching. I have been watching him come through the ranks. His last two wins have earned him a top 10 ranking. I always look over my shoulder as these young studs remind me of when I was begging for a shot at a top 10 welterweight. I know the hunger, drive, and I embrace it. Looks like Brown will fight Tarec, Carlos I beat and he’s injured, and no one is sure when GSP will be back so it made sense. He asked, and he shall RECEIVE!”
The card just got a huge boost to what may be the most anticipated UFC pay-per-view of the year (in January). Woodley showed true fighting spirit to give an up-and-coming prospect like Gastelum a huge shot; that’s a departure from the previous versions of “The Chosen One,” where he called out for title shot after beating Carlos Condit at UFC 171.
Here’s a full rundown of the UFC 183 card as it currently stands:
Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tyron Woodley
Sara McMann vs. Miesha Tate
Thiago Alves vs. Jordan Mein
Tim Boetsch vs. Thales Leites
Diego Brandao vs. Jimy Hettes
Rafael Natal vs. Tom Watson
Andy Enz vs. Thiago Santos
Ildemar Alcantara vs. Richardson Moreira
Photo: Troy Taormina for USA TODAY Sports