Kelvin Gastelum 'in pain pretty good' after epic UFC 236 clash vs. Israel Adesanya, head held high

Kelvin Gastelum was – unsurprisingly – in some pain Sunday night after his epic UFC 236 clash with Israel Adesanya, but he also seems to be in good spirits.

Gastelum met Adesanya in a five round co-headliner that saw “The Last Stylebender” walk away with a close unanimous decision and the UFC interim middleweight title. But Gastelum didn’t leave the octagon empty-handed, earning a $50,000 “Fight of the Night” bonus and a lot of praise for a valiant effort in a thrilling and balanced match.

Unlike Adesanya (16-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC), Gastelum (16-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC) couldn’t make it to the post-fight press conference at Atlanta’s State Farm Arena. But he’d later issue messages on both his Instagram feed and on his stories section addressing the loss.

Via Instagram:

I left it all out there. @stylebender was the better man last night ! Congratulations to him. I know our paths will cross again! This set back as well as all my other setbacks have made me a better person and mixed martial artist. One thing about me is I always come back stronger after each loss!! I can’t wait for the future! I’m 27 and We’re only getting started! To God be all the glory for all his blessings because he is good ALL the time! The mission 4 Gold continues! See you around folks! #OnAmission4Gold

Adesanya responded to Gastelum’s post Monday morning on Twitter. Adesanya thanked his opponent and acknowledged how close the bout was.

“It came down to the wire…we both put in on for the culture of fighting. You know me and I know you now, this is the fights movies are made of, that 5th round was some legendary (expletive). It was only possible cuz I had a man as tough as to dance with. So thank you KG”

Gastelum also made a series of short videos on his Instagram stories, in which he appeared with a purple eye and swollen upper lip. In the videos, Gastelum said he was in pain after Adesanya “put a good beating on” him, but added that he’d learned a a lot from the fight and vowed to return even better.

(@kgastelum/Instagram)

Read Gastelum’s full message below:

“Hey, guys, just got home from Atlanta safe and sound. After the fight, I went to the hospital, got stitched up. Got pain medication, because I’m in pain pretty good. Israel put a good beating on me. And, man, I hope you guys liked the fight. We either win or we learn, and I feel like I learned so much in this fight. And we’re only going to get better. I’m only going to come back stronger. And make the things that I did wrong – we’re going to make them right. For the next few fights, you’ll see the results.

“So thank you everybody for the awesome messages, the support has been amazing. Each and every one of you. I might not get back to all of you guys, but I’m reading them all. So I appreciate that. I hope everyone has a good night and I’ll see you around, you know? I’m not one to dwell too much on negative, I’m going to keep my head up high, have a smile on and keep going forward, guys. We’re only getting (started).”

This was Gastelum’s first loss since July 2017, when he was submitted by former champion Chris Weidman. Gastelum would go on to beat ex-champ Michael Bisping and fellow contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza to earn a stab at the title before a serious abdominal issue forced undisputed champ Robert Whittaker to withdraw from their UFC 234 headliner in February.

With Whittaker out of commission, an interim belt was instated. Adesanya is now expected to face Whittaker in a title unifier that UFC president Dana White wants to host at a stadium in Australia.

For complete coverage of UFC 236, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie

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