Shavkat Rakhmonov and Kelvin Gastelum are set to collide in a welterweight co-main event, on September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
This matchup is part of a UFC card celebrating Mexican Independence Day, as announced by UFC president Dana White. The bout between Rakhmonov and Gastelum materialized due to the fighters' request and the attentive ear of the UFC.
Rakhmonov has been unstoppable with a flawless 17-0 record and an astonishing 100 percent finishing rate. Since his debut in the promotion, he has steadily climbed the UFC rankings. His most recent victories have been his most significant, submitting both Geoff Neal and Neil Magny in consecutive dominant performances. Now, he aims to add Gastelum to his list of conquests as the former interim middleweight title challenger returns to the welterweight division after his last appearance in 2016.
Gastelum was once hailed as a potential contender in the 170-pound division, but his struggles with weight cuts prompted his move up to middleweight. It was there that he made his mark, claiming notable victories over Michael Bisping, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza, and most recently engaging in a thrilling Fight of the Night clash with Chris Curtis. Stepping back into the welterweight division, Gastelum dives straight into the deep end with this upcoming bout against Rakhmonov.
Further fights will be added to the September 16 card, which will be broadcast live on ESPN+ domestically.