Robert Whittaker vs. Rafael Natal UFC 197 Pick, Preview, Odds, Prediction - 4/23/16
Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker
UFC: Saturday, April 23, 2016 (MGM Grand Garden Arena)
The Line: Rafael Natal +285 / Robert Whittaker -345 Over/Under: 2.5 See the Latest Odds
Robert Whittaker and Rafael Natal fight Saturday night during UFC 197 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Robert Whittaker enters this fight with a 16-4 record and has won 44 percent of his fights by knockout. Whittaker has won four straight fights and is coming off a November win over Uriah Hall. Whittaker is averaging 4.77 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 39.1 percent. Whittaker is averaging 0.72 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 66.6 percent. Whittaker is starting climb up the rankings during his winning streak, and he’s doing it with a solid striking attack and a tough takedown defense. Whittaker wants to fight on his feet and does a nice job of being able to do that. Three of Whittaker’s last five wins have come by knockout, and you can bet he’ll be going for another one here. This will be Whittaker’s third fight in Las Vegas.
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Rafael Natal enters this fight with a 21-6-1 record and has won 43 percent of his fights by decision. Natal has won his last four fights and is coming off a January win over Kevin Casey. Natal is averaging 3.02 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 48.2 percent. Natal is averaging 2.84 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 36.3 percent. Natal is also on a nice little winning streak and looks to be getting better with age as he approaches 34 years old. Natal is an accurate striker with a strong striking defense and is coming off his first knockout win since 2010. Natal also has an advantage with his grappling attack that’s produced eight submission victories. Natal has simply been a consistent fighter over the course of his career. This will be Natal’s fourth fight in Las Vegas.
Natal and the solid sized plus money is a decent play here given his current form and his consistency over the course of his career. However, Whittaker is the overall better fighter with knockout power and a takedown defense that should give Natal problems.
Whittaker should be the one who keeps his winning streak intact.