Robert Whittaker defends his Middleweight title against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event at UFC 234 held at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
The main event and co-main event are the reason UFC 234 sold out in around eight minutes, beating out The Rolling Stones.
Looking at the two fighters’ records, we see Whittaker with a 20-4-0 MMA record taking on the fourth-ranked Gastelum with 15-3-0, 1NC.
Whittaker will have a reach advantage of 73.5 inches compared to Gastelum’s 71.5 inches. The height advantage is also in the champions favour, along with home-crowd advantage.
Cuban Olympic silver-medallist Yoel Romero took Whittaker to his limit at his past two fights, UFC 225 and UFC 213, with the pair going the distance on both occasions. Whittaker would win by unanimous decision the first time around before a split decision victory most recently back in June.
Prior to these fights, Romero was unbeaten in the UFC with eight straight victories but even he couldn’t stop Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker. Or Bobby Knuckles if you bought his t-shirt.
Looking at Gastelum here, it would be a surprise to see him walk away with the Middleweight belt. He defeated Jacare Souza by split decision at UFC 224 back in May. Prior to that, Gastelum knocked out former Middleweight champion Michael Bisping at UFC Fight Night. That victory is questionable when Bisping had to fight just 21 days later after losing his championship to Georges St-Pierre.
Whittaker’s last defeat came on February 22, 2014, and he has since had a nine-match winning streak. It looks extremely likely that Whittaker will be walking away with his title still around his waist.
If this fight goes into the fourth or fifth round, expect Whittaker to wear down Gastelum and beat him by KO or TKO.
The head-to-head odds don’t look that lucrative so I would be steering towards Whittaker stopping his opponent inside five rounds via KO or TKO.
Prediction: Whittaker by KO or TKO