Kelvin Gastelum starts slow, rallies to beat Nico Musoke by decision

SAN ANTONIO — If Kelvin Gastelum could figure out that whole weight-cutting thing, he could really be something.

One day after coming in almost two pounds over weight, the welterweight contender dispatched underdog Nico Musoke by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) after a sluggish first round at UFC Fight Night on Saturday night at AT&T Center. The bad cut seemed to affect Gastelum early, but he really got into a striking rhythm in the second and third rounds, bloodying the face of Musoke and landing hard kicks to the body.

"I want to apologize for not making weight yesterday," Gastelum said. "there’s no excuse for that."

Gastelum weighed in at 173 pounds the first time and came back 40 minutes later to register at 172.75 on the scales. On Thursday, he said that he stopped using MMA nutrition guru and weight-cutting specialist Mike Dolce, because he was "expensive." But coming in overweight cost Gastelum 20 percent of his purse, which went to Musoke.

For a little while, it looked like Musoke might win the fight, too. Gastelum started slow and Musoke used his clinch game and grappling to put the 22-year-old prospect on his heels. The Swede took Gastelum’s back and kept it for awhile in the first, clearly winning the round.

Musoke got away from that strategy in the second and third and Gastelum, showing improved striking, picked him apart.

Gastelum (9-0) remains undefeated and he came in ranked No. 11 among welterweight contenders. It’s probably time for him to get a top-10 opponent, but then again he needs to prove he can consistently make 170.

Musoke (12-3, 1 NC), who trains with light heavyweight No. 1 contender Alexander Gustafsson, won his first two fights in the UFC before Saturday. At 28, he still has a solid future in the organization. Look for him to compete on the Sweden card in October.