Hall came into the finale as the short-priced favorite on the back of brutal finishes in the TUF house, but it was the 21-year-old from Arizona who deservedly took the fight on the judges scorecards (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Gastelum came out with the intent of pressuring Hall and had him backpedalling early as he rocked Hall with a flurry of overhand shots before securing the takedown. Hall returned to his feet late in the round and looked more comfortable.
Hall opened the second round firing off his jab as he looked to have found his range, but Gastelum secured a takedown. Hall got the reversal off his back, bringing the fight back to the feet before tripping his teammate to the mat. Hall pulled off a suplex, but it was Gastelum who worked Hall back against the cage in the final seconds.
Coming into the final frame the fight was locked at one round apiece on all the scorecards. Gastelum took the initiative early, landing the takedown before Hall sensationally reversed moving to the top position, firing away with ground and pound. Hall had every possible opportunity to finish his younger opponent, but Gastelum returned to his feet before scoring with another takedown and ground out the victory, earning a six-figure UFC contract.
“I can’t put it into words,” an emotional Gastelum said post-fight. “I knew he was a good striker and I was confident in my striking. I worked a lot on it during camp, and you see the results.”
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