Kelvin Gastelum vs. Israel Adesanya
|Date & Time||Saturday April 13, 2019, 11:30 PM (EDT)|
State Farm Arena
The Line: Gastelum +153 / Adesanya -167 -- Over/Under:
Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya fight Saturday during UFC 236 at the State Farm Arena.
Kelvin Gastelum enters this fight with a 15-3 record and has won 44 percent of his fights by knockout. Gastelum has won four of his last five fights and is coming off a May win over Ronaldo Souza. Gastelum is averaging 3.86 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 43 percent. Gastelum is averaging 0.82 takedowns with an accuracy percentage of 50 percent. Gastelum has enjoyed an extended rest due to the injury to Robert Whittaker that forced him to pull out of UFC 234 at the very last minute. With 11 months out of the octagon, it will be interesting to see Gastelum considering he’s made a habit this last few years fighting about every six months or so. Gastelum has won five of his last six fights if you include the knockout win over Vitor Belfort, and he’s earned performance bonuses in each of his last two fights. Gastelum has produced knockouts in four of his last six victories and is a threat to land a clean shot both in the clinch and on the canvas. Gastelum has such a clean combination standing up and it’s usually the turning point in the fight when it lands. Gastelum has such great technique to his striking attack and he’s shown his chin is up there with any in the sport, as he’s never been finished by knockout. 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 first career fight in Georgia.
Israel Adesanya enters this fight with a 15-0 record and has won 87 percent of his fights by knockout. This will be Adesanya’s sixth fight since 2018, and he’s coming off a February win over Anderson Silva. Adesanya is averaging 4.47 significant strikes per minute with an accuracy percentage of 54 percent. Adesanya is averaging zero takedowns with an accuracy percentage of zero percent. Adesanya wasn’t able to finish his idol, but he put together an stand up performance where he defended well and was an inch away from landing a knockout kick to the head. Adesanya wasn’t as aggressive as he usually is, but that likely has a lot to do with him not wanting to embarrass somebody he has so much respect for and a legend who is clearly past his prime. Adesanya is simply an athletic freak who comes from a kickboxing and boxing background and is as crafty and creative as they come. Adesanya is long, rangy with an 80-inch reach, mixes in his leg kicks well and has an unorthodox stance that throws off his opponent. It’s hard to predict what Adesanya is going to do next, and when you throw in his striking power with the unpredictability, you get a dangerous fighter. This will be Adesanya’s fourth career fight in the United States.
I love Adesanya as much as the next guy and it’s tough to predict against him, especially in fights like this where he such a massive reach advantage. The problem is we’re getting plus money with a guy in Gastelum who has extreme knockout power and is a terrific counter puncher, which will be key against a guy like Adesanya who can leave himself exposed at times. Gastelum is also extremely well conditioned and is known to pressure his opponent at times, something Adesanya isn’t used to seeing. Gastelum also has a clear advantage in grappling and wrestling, and I expect him to attempt to take this fight outside of pure striking. There’s also the fact that Adesanya may be biting off more than he can chew, as this will be his fifth fight in a calendar year, and while he’s fun to watch and extremely talented, the heavy workload could catch up to him at some point.
Gastelum is the more balanced fighter and has the power to end this with one counterpunch. I like Gastelum and the better price.