Unfortunately for those who were looking forward to it, Donald Cerrone vs. Robbie Lawler at UFC 205 won’t be happening after all. With Lawler having recently pulled out of the event, his replacement appears to be the much younger, yet promising winner of The Ultimate Fighter 17, Kelvin Gastelum.

Gastelum survived Johny Hendricks and won, but can he step it up against Cerrone?

Late last week, it was reported that Robbie Lawler would be withdrawing from UFC 205, not long after UFC president Dana White said that Lawler vs. Cerrone was a “done deal.” Lawler said he made this decision because he needed more time to prepare for an eventual return, following his knockout loss to Tyron Woodley at UFC 201.

And while there was some concern that the entire fight would be off for both parties involved, it looks like a replacement has been named less than a week after Lawler pulled out.

Citing comments made to him by White, ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto tweeted yesterday that it has just been “confirmed” by the man himself – it’s going to be “Cowboy” Cerrone versus Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 205, which takes place on November 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York. A look at the replies to Okamoto’s tweet suggests that not many people are looking forward to Gastelum facing Cerrone as Lawler’s replacement, with one saying that there “more fun options out there.” But even with that in mind, Gastelum’s star is on the rise, and it should be interesting to see how he mixes it up with a known octagon veteran.

Apart from winning TUF 17, the 24-year-old Gastelum (12-2) made his name when he beat Johny Hendricks via unanimous decision at UFC 200, surviving three rounds against the knockout artist and shooting up to #5 in the official UFC welterweight rankings. He has, however, had an uneven run in recent fights, having gone 2-2 in his last four appearances in the octagon.

Cerrone is undefeated so far in welterweight division

Originally a lightweight, Donald Cerrone (31-7, 1 NC) moved up to the welterweight division after losing to Rafael dos Anjos via TKO last December. So far, he’s been on a tear, beating Alex Oliveira via submission, and dealing technical knockouts to Patrick Cote and Rick Story.

In both those TKO wins, he earned Performance of the Night honors from UFC.

All in all, Cerrone looks like a clear favorite to win due to his positive momentum and longer tenure in mixed martial arts. Still, one can never count out the possibility of an upset at UFC 205; it happened when Gastelum beat Hendricks, and it’s not farfetched that it may happen again versus Cerrone.

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