UFC continues its overseas travels with a stop at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia for UFC 234. In the main event, Robert Whittaker puts his middleweight championship on the line when takes on Kelvin Gastelum. Whittaker enters the fight riding a nine-fight win streak. His previous four wins were against Derek Brunson, Ronaldo Souza, and Yoel Romero, twice. The twenty-eight-year-old UFC middleweight champion has fourteen finishes in his twenty pro wins. Hailing from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia “Bobby Knuckles” will have a huge advantage in crowd support on Saturday night.
After getting stopped by Chris Weidman at UFC on FOX 25, Kelvin Gastelum has won two straight fights. He knocked out Michael Bisping in spectacular fashion at UFC Fight Night 122 and then won a split decision over Ronaldo Souza at UFC 224. The Arizona native has ten wins via stoppage in fifteen career wins. The twenty-seven year has sneaky power and incredible accuracy making him a difficult match-up for anyone.
In the co-main, MMA legend Anderson Silva makes the walk for the forty-third time when he steps into the octagon against fast-rising superstar Israel Adesanya. The “Spider” is one of, if not the greatest fighter of all-time. There’s nothing this man has not seen in the cage. Granted at forty-three years of age he has certainly lost a step as his 1-4 record in his last five fights shows, but he still remains dangerous. In Silva’s thirty-four career wins, twenty-two are via (T)KO to go along with eight by decision.
Israel Adesanya is 15-0 in his professional career and 4-0 in the UFC. His most recent win came at UFC 230 where he finished Derek Brunson in the first round. The #6 ranked middleweight boasts thirteen (T)KOs in his fifteen wins. The “Last Stylebender” has ridiculous power and is a style match-up nightmare for anyone.
The five-fight main card also includes Rani Yahya taking on Ricky Simon, Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem, and Jim Crute goes up against Sam Alvey.
Note: The predictions in this column do not necessarily mean that I will be betting them. I have changed my mind in the past and gone the other way after conducting more research. For all of my official bets follow me on Twitter @MichaelGrocke.
Robert Whittaker (20-4) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (15-3) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Whittaker -230; Gastelum +210
Pick: Whittaker by (T)KO
Israel Adesanya (15-0) vs. Anderson Silva (34-8) – Middleweight 185 lbs.
Current Odds: Adesanya -575; Silva +485
Pick: Adesanya by (T)KO
Rani Yahya (26-9) vs. Ricky Simon (14-1) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Simon -110; Yahya +100
Pick: Yahya by Decision
Montana De La Rosa (9-4) vs. Nadia Kassem (5-0) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: De La Rosa -250; Kassem +230
Pick: De La Rosa by Submission
Jim Crute (9-0) vs. Sam Alvey (33-11) – Light Heavyweight 205 lbs.
Current Odds: Crute -135; Alvey +115
Pick: Crute by (T)KO
Devonte Smith (9-1) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (16-9-3) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Smith -245; Ma +225
Pick: Smith by (T)KO
Shane Young (12-4) vs. Austin Arnett (16-5) – Featherweight 145 lbs.
Current Odds: Young -305; Arnett +275
Pick: Young by Decision
Kai Kara-France (18-7) vs. Raulian Paiva (18-1) – Flyweight 125 lbs.
Current Odds: France -225; Paiva +205
Pick: France by Decision
Teruto Ishihara (10-6-2) vs. Kyung Ho Kang (14-8) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Kang -345; Ishihara +315
Pick: Kang by (T)KO
Lando Vannata (9-3-2) vs. Marcos Rosa Mariano (6-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Vannata -400; Mariano +350
Pick: Vannata by (T)KO
Callan Potter (17-7) vs. Jalin Turner (7-4) – Lightweight 155 lbs.
Current Odds: Turner -220; Potter +200
Pick: Turner by (T)KO
Wuliji Buren (9-5) vs. Jonathan Martinez (9-2) – Bantamweight 135 lbs.
Current Odds: Martinez -140; Buren +130
Pick Buren by Decision
Enjoy the fights!