Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:00 PM (UFC APEX)
The Line: Kelvin Gastelum +215 / Robert Whittaker -255 -- Over/Under: 4.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
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Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum fight Saturday in UFC Vegas 24 at the UFC APEX.
Robert Whittaker enters this fight with a 22-5 record and has won 41 percent of his fights by knockout. Whittaker has won 10 of his last 11 fights and is coming off an October win over Jared Cannonier. Whittaker is averaging 4.52 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 40 percent. Whittaker is averaging 0.43 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 27 percent. Whittaker is coming off a decision win at UFC 254 where he landed 75 total strikes and 45 percent of his significant strikes. Whittaker has now won each of his last seven decisions and eight of his 10 career decisions. Whittaker has lost just once in over the last six years. Whittaker is a high volume, powerful striker who has knockout power, and he’s a black belt in Hapkido and Gōjū-ryū. Whittaker is more than willing to trade blows in the octagon, and despite sometimes being hit more than you’d like to see, he’s only been knocked out twice in his career. Whittaker also has a wrestling background and is a brown belt in BJJ, so he’s more than comfortable on the canvas and his conditioning is some of the best in the middleweight division. This will be Whittaker’s fifth career fight in Las Vegas.
Kelvin Gastelum enters this fight with a 16-6-1 record and has won 38 percent of his fights by knockout. Gastelum has split his last six fights and is coming off a February win over Ian Heinisch. Gastelum is averaging 3.64 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 43 percent. Gastelum is averaging 1.22 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 39 percent. Gastelum is coming off a decision win at UFC 258 where he landed 51 total strikes and produced six takedowns. It was a much needed win for Gastelum, who snapped a three-fight losing streak and now looks for back-to-back wins for the first time since UFC 224. Gastelum comes from a wrestling and boxing background, and he’s a black belt in 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu. Gastelum has such great technique to his standup and puts together some of the cleanest combinations regardless of weight class. Gastelum also has one of the tougher chins in the sport and has yet to be knocked out despite now six career losses. Gastelum has decent takedown defense and three of his four career submissions have come via rear-naked choke. Once Gastelum finds an opening and gets his timing down, he’s highly aggressive and is looking to put away his opponent. This will be Gastelum’s fifth career fight in Las Vegas.
You could make a strong case for either of these fighters, as both are high quality strikers and should be in their comfort zone in this bout. This has another performance of the night written all over it with two guys likely trading serious strikes until somebody potentially drops. Gastelum as this big of an underdog is worth a strong look and I seriously considered backing him given the price. However, Whittaker is still the class of the middleweight division and has a two inch reach advantage, which is key in a fight that’s likely going to feature a ton of stand up striking. Whittaker has an odd stance that allows him to do a lot of damage without getting hit. He gets in and out with the best of them and is so damn frustrating in a stand up fight.
I like Whittaker here, and I’ll take him a finish to reduce the steep juice.