After defeating Vitor Belfort on his home turf in Fortaleza, Brazil, on Saturday, Gastelum called out Silva, another legendary Brazilian fighter. Not only did he want to fight Silva, he wanted to do it at UFC 212, again fighting in Brazil.
UFC officials announced on Tuesday that Gastelum was granted his wish. Although the bout’s placement on the card has yet to be set, the they will meet on June 3 at Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Fresh off of the victory over Belfort, Gastelum (14-2) said, “I wanted to get a fight that interested me at middleweight, and if I get a fight that interests me at middleweight than I would definitely stay. Anderson is one of those guys that would definitely interest me.
“He’s a big name, he’s another legend, and he’s ranked above me. I want to keep moving up the rankings. I want the fights that will eventually lead me to the title shot.”
Having struggled with the weight cut at welterweight, where he is also a contender, Gastelum will be making his third consecutive start middleweight when he faces Silva. In addition to Belfort, Gastelum previously defeated Tim Kennedy. He won both bouts by TKO stoppage, and hopes to add the former middleweight kingpin to his burgeoning resume.
Silva (34-8, 1NC) has struggled to gain any traction since losing the championship to Chris Weidman in 2013. He’s lost four out of his last six bouts, and had a victory over Nick Diaz changed to a no contest due to testing positive to prohibited substances.
He enters the bout with Gastelum coming off of a unanimous decision victory Derek Brunson.
The bout joins a UFC 212 fight card headlined by featherweight champion Jose Aldo putting his belt up against the interim title of Max Holloway.