The highly anticipated welterweight showdown between TUF 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum and Rick Story was definitely one for the ages. Kelvin came out and looked like a world-class striker the way he was tagging Story and moving around the cage. He had Story hurt momentarily but couldn’t follow up.
The second round was more of the same as Kelvin’s jab and footwork combined with his head movement was giving Rick Story all he could handle. That is, until Story landed a huge left hook that wobbled Kelvin. On the retreat, Gastelum tried to fire back with flurries of punches but Story powered through and dropped Gastelum. Although Story ended the second round well, he was still being out-struck for the majority of it. The third round would play out differently as both fighters fought with a sense of desperation. Story pursued a takedown and got the back, but Gastelum hung tough and fought through it. At the end of the round, both Gastelum and Story unleashed hell on eachother.
Heading into the scorecards, I knew this fight would come down to control. Not control on the ground, but control in the striking. Even though Story had a huge moment at the end of the second round and in the third when he took Gastelum’s back, he was at the receiving end of Kelvin’s boxing skills the entire rest of the fight. Gastelum takes home the well-earned split decision victory in a crazy fight full of heated exchanges, epic moments, and the beautiful display of Kelvin Gastelum’s much improved striking skills. Fantastic fight.