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Kelvin Gastelum out of fight with Shavkat Rakhmonov in September

UFC 291: Ceremonial Weigh-in
Kelvin Gastelum
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Kelvin Gastelum is out of his scheduled fight against Shavkat Rakhmonov.

Gastelum was set to face Rakhmonov in the co-main event of the upcoming Fight Night card set to take place in Las Vegas on Sept. 16. On Tuesday, Gastelum posted on social media notifying fans that an injury forced him out of the fight, saying he hopes the matchup will be rebooked for later this year.

“Unfortunate news, my fight with Shavkat Rakhmonov is off. I received an elbow that resulted in an open fracture and a few bones came out fractured. I have to apologize to everybody who was excited about this fight. I apologize to everybody. I apologize to Shavkat Rakhmonov and his team. I feel bad. I feel very horrible about this unfortunate incident.

“I’ll be back. I’m still going to continue training. I can still do my strength and conditioning training, movement, I can still do a lot of my training... I asked to move it up to November. Hopefully they will grant me this wish. That will be Nov. 11 in Madison Square Garden. It’s hard to be a Kelvin Gastelum fan sometimes, I know. We go through ups and downs together, but I promise we’re fighting to get back on the horse and get back on that winning streak and continue it.”

The fight with Rakhmonov was to be Gastelum’s first fight back at welterweight in over seven years, after repeatedly struggling to make the 170-pound mark early in his UFC career. After moving up to middleweight in 2016, Gastelum strung together a few high-profile wins and earned a shot against Israel Adesanya for the interim middleweight title, coming up short in the 2019 Fight of the Year. A recent difficult road at 185 pounds led Gastelum to decide to return to his original weight class, and the matchup against Rakhmonov would be a chance to face a top contender immediately.

Unsurprisingly, Rakhmonov was upset with this development. Currently the sixth-ranked welterweight in the UFC rankings, Rakhmonov has struggled to find an opponent recently, and Gastelum presented a good opportunity to get a big name win that could propel the undefeated Kazakh fighter to a title shot. Accordingly, Rakhmonov is interested in re-booking the fight on a faster different timeline, calling for the bout to be set for the upcoming UFC 294 card in Abu Dhabi.

“Pinata, I agreed to fight you on your territory on Mexican Independence Day in arena full of your supporters and it’s not my problem you can’t do it now. It’s your turn to accept to fight me on my territory in Abu Dhabi at UFC 294! Or did you realize it was bad idea just now?”

There is no official word at this time on when or if the fight will be remade.

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