Kelvin Gastelum needed less than three minutes to lay waste to former middleweight champion Michael Bisping in the main event from UFC Fight Night in Shanghai, China on Saturday.
Gastelum was facing Bisping after his original opponent Anderson Silva was pulled from the card after being flagged for a potential doping violation by USADA. Bisping then stepped up just a week after losing his title to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217 but unfortunately the move didn’t pay off as he suffered his second loss in the past three weeks.
While the fight didn’t go his way, Bisping looked comfortable in the early going but it was Gastelum who was clearly the aggressor during the first few exchanges.
Gastelum opened with several shots aimed at the body including a kick that reverberated throughout the arena in Shanghai as he was very aggressive throughout the first round.
Bisping fired back with counter striking combinations, trying to catch Gastelum as he pressed forward.
Unfortunately, Bisping just couldn’t keep up with Gastelum’s speed and power and he waited for the perfect opening to land the knockout strikes.
During a furious exchange near the center of the Octagon, Gastelum slipped a punch from the former champion and fired back with a short right hand followed by an absolutely monstrous left hand that flattened Bisping down to the mat.
— UFC (@ufc) November 25, 2017
Gastelum followed him to the ground but the fight was already over as referee Marc Goddard swooped in to stop the fight before Bisping could take anymore damage.
The end came at 2:30 into the opening round.
With the win, Gastelum moves to 4-1 with one no contest as a middleweight in the UFC and now it appears he’s hunting for gold at 185 pounds.
“This was the biggest win of my life. I have a huge amount of respect for Bisping for stepping up,” Gastelum said afterwards.
“I heard a rumor that Robert Whittaker needs a main event in February in Australia. I’m up for the challenge.”
Of course, Whittaker is the reigning interim middleweight champion and he’s expected to face Georges St-Pierre in a unification bout in 2018. That being said, UFC 221 is taking place in Perth, Australia in February and Whittaker would seem like the perfect candidate to headline the card.
— UFC_Asia (@UFC_Asia) November 25, 2017
As for Bisping, it was certainly not the result he wanted after accepting the fight with Gastelum just a week after his loss to St-Pierre at UFC 217.
In the lead up to this fight, Bisping was adamant that no matter the result, he was still going to return for at least one more bout before retiring from the sport. By all accounts, that’s still Bisping’s plan following his loss to Gastelum on Saturday in China.
“I just want to say congratulations to Kelvin Gastelum. Job well done tonight,” Bisping said. “He caught me with a good shot, god bless Kelvin, he’s young. I’ve done this for a long time. I’m getting old.
“Kelvin’s a great guy but unfortunately it’s going to take a bigger pile of s–t than him to get rid of me.”
Obviously after getting knocked down in the fight with St-Pierre and now being finished by Gastelum, Bisping might be due for some time off but he’s stated in the past that he would like his last fight to take place in his home country of England in March.
Whether that still happens after the result on Saturday remains to be seen.
FULL RESULTS FROM UFC FIGHT NIGHT: BISPING VS. GASTELUM
Kelvin Gastelum def. Michael Bisping by knockout at 2:30, R1
Li Jingliang def. Zak Ottow by TKO (strikes) at 2:57, R1
Wang Guan def. Alex Caceres by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Alex Garcia def. Muslim Salikhov by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:22, R2
Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Sheymon Moraes by submission (anaconda choke) at 4:30, R3
Kenan Song def. Bobby Nash by TKO (strikes) at 15 seconds, R1
Xiaonan Yan def. Kailin Curran by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Song Yadong def. Bharat Kandare by submission (front choke) at 4:16, R1
Shamil Abdurakhimov def. Chase Sherman by knockout (strikes) at 1:24, R1
Gina Mazany def. Yanan Wu by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)
Rolando Dy def. Wuliji Buren by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Cyril Asker def. Hu Yaozang by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:33, R2