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Kelvin Gastelum moves up to middleweight, faces Nate Marquardt at UFC 188

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The UFC is making good on its promise to make Kelvin Gastelum move up to middleweight.

The top prospect will go back to his former division and meet Nate Marquardt at UFC 188 on June 13 in Mexico City, the UFC announced Tuesday.

Gastelum won The Ultimate Fighter 17 reality series at middleweight in 2013, but moved down to welterweight afterward. He struggled to make the 171-pound maximum there and was told to move up after missing weight by nine pounds before his bout with Tyron Woodley at UFC 183 on Jan. 31 in Las Vegas.

Gastelum (10-1) lost the fight to Woodley by split decision for his first career defeat. Before that, the Mexican American fighter had beaten Jake Ellenberger in impressive fashion by first-round submission at UFC 180 last November. Gastelum, 23, remains a future star, but it remains to be seen how high his ceiling will be at middleweight, where he will routinely be going up against taller opponents. Gastelum is just 5-foot-9.

Marquardt (33-14-2), the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, has lost three of his last four fights. He fell to Brad Tavares at UFC 182 on Jan. 3 via unanimous decision and has also lost to Ellenberger and Hector Lombard by first-round knockout since returning to the UFC. Marquardt, 35, has been a pro MMA fighter since 1999 and owns notable wins over Woodley, Demian Maia and Rousimar Palhares.

UFC 188 will be headlined by a heavyweight title unification fight between champion Cain Velasquez and interim champ Fabricio Werdum. The event takes place at Arena Ciudad de Mexico, where the UFC debuted in Mexico back in November. That event sold out with more than 21,000 in attendance and that was without Velasquez, the UFC's most popular Mexican American fighter, who was injured.

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