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April 12th, 2021
Two middleweights in the hunt for a title shot will collide when Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum clash April 17.
This UFC Fight Night main event is rife with drama and should deliver all the action. Here is a preview and pick to make you the big winner on fight night.
Whittaker comes into this bout with his sights on a rematch against Israel Adesanya. Since his stoppage loss to Adesanya, Whittaker has maintained his status as a top middleweight, with impressive wins against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.
Though outclassed by Adesanya, Whittaker picked apart the methodical Till and blasted the formidable Cannonier. If anything, Whittaker is showing more shades in his game than he has at any point of his career and not overextending himself while he neutralizes his opponent’s best weapons.
Gastelum has stepped in for Paulo Costa and will hope the momentum of snapping his three-fight losing streak will serve him well. The action fighter is consistent but has failed to excel beyond the mid-tier of the division.
His suffocating win over Ian Heinisch gives him another shot for the middleweight title. The 29-year-old must be light on his feet to close the distance against his taller, longer foe. If he has to, Gastelum can hold his own in a firefight, with six stoppages to his name.
These two are coming into this fight at very different points in their careers. Whittaker looks to be firing on all cylinders, and Gastelum is just getting back into the swing of things. Staying in the pocket with Whittaker could be disastrous, and Gastelum is outmatched from a striking perspective.
It’s a five-round fight, and while Gastelum’s wrestling could be problematic in the later rounds, it gives Whittaker more chances to break him down. Stylistically, Whittaker is all wrong for Gastelum. Barring an early shock submission, Gastelum is in for a long night.
Gastelum will resort to taking risks, which will leave him worse for wear every time he gets into Whittaker’s range. Once Whittaker begins to walk him down, it won’t be long before he finishes Gastelum.
There are so few avenues for Gastelum that it is practically a lock for Whittaker to stop him inside the distance.
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