Former Ultimate Fighter coaching rivals finally face off two years after their initial meeting was cancelled. The UFC Apex Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada plays host to a Middleweight bout between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. UFC mainstays Andre Arlovski and Jeremy Stephens are also on the card, as is upcoming talent Luis Pena and Alexander Romanov. We have a look at the main event and two on the prelims below.
Two years after their initial bout fell through, former Middleweight king Robert Whittaker meets Kelvin Gastelum. Whittaker really is still quite underappreciated as he truly has faced and beat the scariest of Middleweight prospects apart from Israel Adesanya. Other than the aforementioned loss to Adesanya he has not been defeated since February of 2014. Gastelum on the other hand was right in the title picture before losing three straight. He bounced back in February against Ian Heinsch winning by decision.
Gastelum is notoriously hard to finish and much like Whittaker is a well-rounded fighter. I believe though as long as Whittaker avoids the counter right of Gastelum he should be able to control and dominate the fight. Whittaker may even turn in some grappling exchanges as Gastelum is vulnerable on the mat. Regardless of his approach, Whittaker simply just should win and although the odds aren’t anything special they still should be skinnier than they currently are.
I am a big fan of the undefeated Moldovian Alexander Romanov but Juan Espino will be his hardest fight to date. Romanov has finished all his fights, nine by the way of submission. Espino is also adept on the ground and can land some nasty ground and pound himself. I see this going one of two ways, either Espino ends up on top of Romanov early and pounds him into oblivion or Romanov makes Espino pay for his abysmal gas tank in the second or third round.
Either way I don’t see it going the distance and both men’s submission defense is quite good so by knockout or merciful stoppage seems to me how the fight will likely finish. So instead of backing a fighter we are going with the fight to end by KO.
Meerschaert has been stopped in under 90 seconds in his last two fights and his chin might not be what it once was. However, this stylistic match up is way too good to refuse. Fabianski is a decent grappler who showed that in his decision victory over the then promising Darren Stewart.
Last time out though he got caught by an Andre Muniz armbar and that is frightening considering how slick GM3 is on the mat. Fabinksi will shoot double leg after double leg and that is recipe for disaster against Meerschaert. GM3 wraps up an arm or Fabinski’s neck likely in the opening exchanges and from there it is a wrap. It is truly baffling to me how he is the underdog.
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