Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum are the main protagonists at the upcoming UFC on ESPN 22. These two guys will clash in a middleweight bout, which will answer a couple of questions. The first, will Whittaker get another chance to face Adesanya, and the second, is Gastelum ready to come back among the elite echelon of the middleweight fighters?
PreviewRobert Whittaker 22-5 -265
The Reaper won two in a row following his loss over Israel Adesanya against very good opponents – Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. In his first match since losing to Izzy, Whittaker experienced some troubles, but he quickly overcame the same beating Till via unanimous decision.
Versus Cannonier, there were no such moments, and Whittaker dominated from the start until the end, shutting down all the critics who were doubting his abilities. Cannonier was on fire until that match, winning in four straight with many already seeing him as the next title challenger.
We don’t need to say too much about this guy. He is a tough competitor, who knows how to punch and wrestle, with the note that he began using his wrestling skills a bit more lately. Still, severe hits are the main weapon for the Reaper, who aims to regain his throne as soon as possible.
Kelvin Gastelum 16-6 +240
The former Ultimate Fight winner had a very frustrating period throughout 2019 and 2020, as he suffered three defeats in a row. The first was in the interim title match against Adesanya, then against Darren Till via split decision and eventually an upset to Jack Hermansson, who submitted him in the first round of their matchup.
After that, Gastelum beat Ian Heinisch via unanimous decision, but he didn’t thrill anyone with this achievement. With all due respect, Heinisch is not some name that draws attention among the fans and the fighters.
😤 In 2013, Gastelum won TUF 17, the culmination of a season in which he was Team Sonnen's last pick.
🏆 In 2019, Gastelum fought for UFC gold in an instant classic against champion Israel Adesanya. pic.twitter.com/hx0AfqHeYA
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) April 13, 2021
The American is a tough fighter who knows how to wrestle and score takedowns. Once he showed up, many believed that he might be the complete package, but somewhere in the middle, Gastelum lost his edge.
Gastelum will show a good performance, we are sure of that, but that won’t be enough for him to win this match. Whittaker is in excellent shape, and he seems more than determined to set up a clash against Adesanya as soon as possible. Betting on his victory is the only logical solution in this case.
Pick: Whittaker wins