Image Credit: USA TODAY Sports

He’s had ups, he’s had downs, but if it’s one thing TUF winner Kelvin Gastelum possesses, it’s the persistence needed to improve.

In the co-main event of UFC 224, Gastelum once more battled a denizen of the middleweight elite in Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. It should go without saying that when it comes to fighting on the ground, Souza – a legit master of jiu-jitsu – is king.

So of course Gastelum’s game plan was a bit of the old “sprawl and brawl”.

Unfortunately, his sprawl wasn’t 100% in the first round, so for a couple harrowing minutes at the end there, Gastelum was struggling to stay alive while Souza took mount and dropped leather.

None of the those takedowns came in the second, though, with Jacare visibly sucking wind and Gastelum piecing him up with strikes.

In the third round, Souza got his foe down twice, but Gastelum was up almost instantly. And of course, when it came to the striking battle, Gastelum gave just slightly better than he got.

The decision could’ve gone either way, but it was split and went to Gastelum.