The Ultimate Fighter season 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum overcame an early onslaught by Nicholas Musoke to keep his undefeated record intact at UFC Fight Night: Swanson vs. Stephens in San Antonio on Saturday.
Musoke looked to be the superior striker in the early going. He landed a combination and pushed Gastelum back with punches. The Swede secured two takedowns in the first round and had Gastelum’s back for the majority of the frame.
Gastelum made adjustments between rounds and came out aggressive in the second stanza. He pressed forward, landing combinations as Musoke covered up along the cage. He delivered powerful kicks to the body and had Musoke in a defensive shell for most of the round.
Heading into the final frame, it was even on the judges’ scorecards.
Musoke quickly tied Gastelum up in the opening seconds of the final round and tried to get the fight to the ground. Gastelum defended the takedown attempt and picked Musoke apart with strikes. He continued to land hard kicks to the body and set the pace. It was clear after fifteen minutes of fighting that Gastelum had extended his undefeated record to 10.
“I feel great. Nico was a very game opponent tonight,” said the 22-year-old welterweight following the win. “I knew that he had the first round, so right away I had to pick up the pace and knew that I had to really put the pace the next two rounds. He was a very game opponent, hard to finish. I hit him with a lot of good, clean shots, and he didn’t go down. So props to him. He was very tough.”
For the first time in Gastelum’s career, he missed weight at the official weigh-ins on Friday, taking a little bit away from his impressive unanimous decision win.
“First of all, I want to apologize for not making weight yesterday. There’s no excuse for that. I apologize to the UFC, to Joe Silva (UFC matchmaker). I am truly disappointed in that,” he said.