Former UFC interim middleweight title challenger Kelvin Gastelum has issued a statement after the news of his withdrawal from UFC Vegas 67.
Gastelum was supposed to face Nassourdine Imavov on Saturday in the UFC Vegas 67 main event. It was set to be his return to the Octagon after more than a year away from the competition.
Just days before the fight, Gastelum pulled out with an unspecified mouth injury, and Sean Strickland will be the short-notice replacement. Strickland and Imavov will compete at a 205lb catchweight over five rounds.
Gastelum has struggled since earning a title shot in 2019. He’s lost five of his last six fights, including defeats to former champions Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya.
Despite this disappointing setback in his career, Gastelum is looking ahead to a full recovery and eventual return to the Octagon.
Kelvin Gastelum Apologizes To Nassourdine Imavov After Pull-Out
In a recent tweet, Gastelum issued a statement following the news of his withdrawal from UFC Vegas 67.
“I’m extremely disappointed to say the least,” Gastelum tweeted Monday. “This not how I wanted to start 2023. I worked my ass off & battled through a lot of adversary and was ready to put on a hell of a show this weekend. I apologize to Imavov, his camp as well as [UFC] and all the fans.”
Gastelum’s withdrawal is the latest setback in his path to a return to the Octagon. He and Imavov were supposed to square off at UFC 273 last year before Imavov withdrew due to travel visa issues.
After getting removed from UFC 273 entirely, Gastelum underwent knee surgery. He was originally set up to face Dricus du Plessis but was forced to withdraw from that fight as well.
It’s uncertain how long Gastelum will be sidelined with his mouth injury, although he could potentially return later this year. For now, fans will have to wait to see him return to the Octagon.
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