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Kevin Gastelum accepts Shavkat Rakhmanov challenge for a fight at 170

Shavkat Rakhmonov should expect to receive exactly what he requested from Kelvin Gastelum.

After seven years of competing at middleweight, Gastelum declared in May that he will finally return to 170 pounds for his upcoming match. Rakhmonov, who is presently ranked No. 5 among welterweights in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, tweeted a callout after making his declaration that his fight would be Gastelum's return bout.

“I like the callout. I appreciate the call out,” Gastelum said on his YouTube channel. “I thought it was a little boring. He could have added a little spice to it, but I like the fight. These are the kind of fights that I want in the welterweight division. This puts me right in the mix, swimming with the sharks. It’s either sink or swim. I like this fight. I think he’s ranked No. 5 or No. 6 in the welterweight division. This puts me up there with some really fun fights, given I win this, which I will...

“It’s been a couple weeks since the tweet. I’ve been on vacation so it’s taken me some time to address it, but now it’s time for me to address it and officially accept the challenge. I accept, Shavkat Rakhmonov, your challenge at 170 pounds, and not only that, I’ll give you a date. Dana was talking about doing a huge Mexican Independence Day event in Las Vegas, which happens to be Sep. 16 on the dot, and me being an outstanding Mexican America, I would gladly represent where me people have come from and where we’re going. Sep. 16 at the T-Mobile Arena, wherever it may be, as your man in Kazakhstan, [Gennady Golovkin] would say, ‘Big drama show.’ Let’s get it on. I accept, Shavkat. I accept your challenge.”

In his MMA career, Rakhmonov has won all 17 of his matches by way of stoppage, as Gastelum pointed out.

Rakhmonov most recently forced Geoff Neal to submit in March, putting himself in contention for the crown. Contrarily, Gastelum has struggled recently, losing five of his last six fights at middleweight before most recently overcoming Chris Curtis via contentious decision in April. Gastelum, though, thinks that Rakhmonov will be in serious trouble when the two do square off, despite their divergent career paths at the time.


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