The son of Mexican immigrants out of Yuma, Arizona, middleweight Kelvin Gastelum not only scored an upset in his run on the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, he upset the entire field and made it to Saturday’s finale.
“For me it was a great experience,” Gastelum told Fox News Latino. “It seems like everything worked in my favor.”
At 21 years old, Gastelum is the show’s youngest competitor ever to get this far. He worked with one of the world’s top fighters in Chael Sonnen and his assistant coaches, an opportunity the young fighter hasn’t overlooked.
“[Chael's] a great mentor,” said Gastelum. “He’s a great guy to have around.”
Sonnen had a good run on the 17th season of the long running reality show — both men in the tournament finals this Saturday are pupils of his.
Gastelum now takes on highly touted Uriah Hall in what looks to be a one of the best final matchups in the show’s history.
“It’s a tough position to be in. I really like Uriah,” said Gastelum. “I respect his skills set obviously, I think it’ll be a great fight.”
Gastelum is an underdog in this bout but doesn’t let it phase him.
“I would agree I’m the heavy underdog and he’s the heavy favorite,” said Gastelum. “That’s fine, I don’t care.”
While Hall has taken to working out with Sonnen in addition to his usual training team, Gastelum, who was offered the same opportunity, instead entrenched himself back home in Yuma with his home fight team.
“What’s that saying? ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’,” said Gastelum.
Even with the confidence in his abilities, Gastelum admits there are still some jitters that go along with a co-main event in a big Las Vegas UFC card at Mandalay Bay.
“To be honest, it does [intimidate me]. It’s a huge venue. I’ve never been of this kind of venue,” said Gastelum. “It’s a little intimidating but at the same time I’m really focused on my fight.”