Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum clash in the main event of the UFC on ESPN 22 this Saturday in LAs Vegas, Nevada. This will be a middleweight battle between the former champions of the division and the guy who was once a promising youngster but never reached his full potential. The winner of the Ultimate Fighter competition was lost along the way, and he now tries to get back on the right path. Things haven’t been easy for Gastelum in the recent few years, that is for sure. Whittaker lost the title belt, took some time off, and returned, starting a quest to regain the throne. Is he able to beat Adesanya and take the title back? Many say now, but the time will be the judge of that.
Welcome to BetXChange‘s UFC Fight Night Whittaker vs Gastelum preview.
Robert Whittaker is on a two-match winning streak, both of them coming after unanimous decisions. The former champion beat Darren Till at first and after that trashed Jared Cannonier, who was flying high at the time.
He did survive early on against Till, but after getting up to his feet bounced back and controlled the fight at will. We noticed that in certain moments the New Zealander used his wrestling in the clinch to narrow down space for opponents, which will be handy against Gastelum, who is hard when fighting from a nearby. Whittaker was looking a bit heavier and as if he added a few pounds, but that just might have been our observation which doesn’t have to be true.
He is truly one of the best fighters in the division, otherwise, his comeback would have been much more problematic. Instead, Whittaker defeated both Cannonier and Till, two excellent rivals without some particular trouble, apart from the opening part of the match vs Till.
On the other side, we have Kelvin Gastelum, a guy who is struggling to find his consistency for a long time, and who obviously couldn’t handle the pressure imposed by the media expectations. Once a very talented youngster who had everything to become the No.1 in the division, recently had three losses in a row.
He would stop that negative period with a decision win over Ian Heinisch at the UFC 258, but to be honest, his rival isn’t some notable name in the division, so that a win over him would draw praises. Gastelum was constantly taking down Heinisch, and that was, in fact the biggest reason for his success. He was better in all other aspects of the battle, but not that significantly.
The first of three defeats was against Adesanya in the interim title match, the second against Till (both via decision, vs Till a split one), and at last a first-round submission against Jack Hermansson. We need to mention that the 29-year old still has time to bounce back and do something big in his career. After all, he did manage to beat Johny Hendricks, Michael Bisping, and Ronaldo Jacare Souza.
Gastelum does have time to get back on the right track, but after this battle. At the moment Whittaker seems much better, and the recent two fights against guys who are in top condition are proving the same. Cannonier was in one hell of a shape, yet he couldn’t do anything against the Reaper.
Our prediction for this battle is Whittaker to post another victory and after that, to receive a chance to get things even with Adesanya in a rematch.
Pick: Whittaker 0.38 at BetXChange