Tyron Woodley was already dealing with a tough assignment. Then, seventh-ranked
At a staggering 10 pounds over the 170-pound weight limit.
Woodley, the No. 3 welterweight, accepted the fight, the Nevada State Athletic Commission ruling that Gastelum would have to fork over $9,000 of his purse.
Saturday night at MGM Grand, Woodley (15-3) stepped in the octagon and beat the bigger man by split-decision by scores of 29-28, 30-27 and 28-29.
"When I first thought about it, I was frustrated," Woodley said.
He said he then pondered that Gastelum's "a young kid," has a team around him that dropped the ball on the weight monitoring, and recalled what it was like to be a young, hungry fighter desperate to "pay bills."
So Woodley, after dominating the second round with punches, announced after the win that he didn't need Gastelum's purse, which would've increased his own pay from a guaranteed $65,000 to $74,000.
Woodley's triumph preceded the night's main event, a five-round middleweight bout marking former longtime champion Anderson Silva's return to the octagon after a 13-month absence since breaking his leg in gruesome fashion against champion Chris Weidman.
Silva's fight against Stockton's former welterweight title challenger Nick Diaz wasn't complete at press time. See latimes.com/sports for full coverage.
The card's other pay-per-view bouts each ended prematurely.
Former welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves showed how a mixed martial arts fight can turn in an instant after getting battered by punches and elbows to the face in the first round by Canada's Jordan Mein.
But Alves (26-9) said he spotted "exposure in the ribs and went for it," knocking the wind out of Mein and dropping him with a right kick to the gut, then following with a knee to the face and three left-handed punches to end the fight 36 seconds into the second round.
Middleweight Thales Leites, who had a title shot at Silva in 2009, won his fifth straight UFC fight by absorbing heavy punches from Tim Boetsch, including a left-right combination that dropped Leites to the canvas.
Once there, Leites (25-4) was where he wanted to be in the fight and found a way to get atop Boetsch, press his right foot off the cage to improve his leverage and submitted Boetsch by arm triangle choke 3:45 into the second round.
Lightweight Al Iaquinta set up a second-round technical-knockout win over Joe Lauzon by slugging Lauzon in the ear with a hard right hand, staggering him with additional punches netting a stoppage at 3:34 of the second round.
Former women's bantamweight title challengers Miesha Tate and Sara McMann provided a gritty battle in the final non-pay-per-view bout, Tate claiming a majority decision by scores of 29-28, 29-27 and 28-28.
Tate got dropped by a McMann right hand in the first round and was subjected to heavy punishment.
"I had to hang on for dear life, I was hurt real bad," Tate said.
She was reeling through some blows in the second but turned the outcome by nearly submitting McMann by guillotine choke late in the round.