Kelvin Gastelum isn’t leaving the UFC 273 lineup. The middleweight vet has been booked to face short-notice opponent Dricus Du Plessis at the promotion’s April 9th pay-per-view card, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN.
Du Plessis is stepping in to replace Nassourdine Imavov, who reportedly exited his matchup against Gastelum earlier this week.
The new development has come to a UFC card that is expected to take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, USA.
Du Plessis was previously booked to fight on this card against Chris Curtis, although their pairing was thrown out more than a week ago. Du Plessis has yet to lose in the UFC, having scored two finish wins since entering the promotion in 2020.
This matchup gives a tough test for Du Plessis, as Gastelum is the most experienced name he has faced thus far.
Gastelum has lost four of his last five fights, although he has been matched up against many high-level contenders in the welterweight division recently.
Fremd To Debut Against Hernandez
Regional stand-out Josh Fremd will reportedly get his UFC debut on the card as well, facing Anthony Hernandez at middleweight. News of this matchup was first reported by Mike Heck of MMA Fighting.
Fremd earned a UFC contract in February with a submission win over Joel Bauman on an FAC card. That event was being shot for web-series “Dana White’s Lookin’ For A Fight,” and Fremd was one of the many fighters at that event that was offered a spot on the UFC roster afterward.
Hernandez was originally given two different matchups for this card before being matched against Fremd. His last victory was in early 2021, where he pulled off an upset submission win over Rodolfo Vieira.
Here is an updated look at the ever-changing UFC 273 card.
Bout 14: Alexander Volkanovski (23-1) vs. The Korean Zombie (17-6) (UFC Featherweight Championship)
Bout 13: Aljamain Sterling (20-3) vs. Petr Yan (16-2) (UFC Bantamweight Championship)
Bout 12: Pat Sabatini (16-3) vs. Gavin Tucker (13-2) (Featherweight)
Bout 11: Mickey Gall (7-4) vs. Mike Malott (7-1-1) (Welterweight)
Bout 10: Jairzinho Rozenstruick (12-3) vs. Marcin Tybura (22-7) (Heavyweight)
Bout 9: Mackenzie Dern (11-2) vs. Tecia Torres (13-5) (Strawweight)
Bout 8: Vinc Pichel (14-2) vs. Mark O. Madsen (11-0) (Lightweight)
Bout 7: Piera Rodriguez (7-0) vs. Kay Hansen (7-5) (Strawweight)
Bout 6: Ian Garry (8-0) vs. Darian Weeks (5-1) (Welterweight)
Bout 5: Gilbert Burns (20-4) vs. Khamzat Chimaev (10-0) (Welterweight)
Bout 4: Aspen Ladd (9-2) vs. Raquel Pennington (13-8) (Bantamweight)
Bout 3: Aleksei Oleinik (59-16-1) vs. Ilir Latifi (15-8) (Heavyweight)
Bout 2: Kelvin Gastelum (17-8) vs. Dricus Du Plessis (16-2) (Middleweight)
Bout 1: Anthony Hernandez (8-2) vs. Josh Fremd (9-2) (Middleweight)