Kelvin Gastelum (+220) vs. Robert Whittaker (-270)
Weight Class: Middleweight (185 lbs)
Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum will finally be squaring off in what will likely be a title eliminator. The two have had fights against each other cancelled in the past, and both men will be eager to earn a chance for a rematch with Israel Adesanya.
For Whittaker, he’s picked up two solid wins since a brutal KO stoppage to Adesanya. Bobby Knuckles has secured wins over two top tier opponents in Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.
In the Till fight, Whittaker was able to avoid damaging counters from Till. Till’s movement is tough for anybody, and while Rob did bite on some fronts, it was a solid performance. Rob was also able to chop down Till’s right leg and really limit his movement. From there, his wrestling was also on point and he was able to earn a decision victory over five rounds.
After that, he beat Cannonier in very impressive fashion. The fight was essentially a pick em’, but Whittaker looked lightyears ahead. It was a more than solid win considering the run Cannonier was on.
For Kelvin, he secured a much needed victory over Ian Heinisch last time out. He was able to employ some wrestling that we don’t always see from him and took advantage of mistakes Heinisch made. It was Gastelum’s first win in three attempts, though not all the losses were equal.
One of these losses was to Adesanya for the Middleweight title. An instant classic, it was the best performance of Kelvin’s career despite being a loss. But after that, Gastelum was unable to adjust to Darren Till’s movement until round three and came up short in a split decision. His last fight prior to the win over Heinisch was his most disastrous, albeit unfortunate. Kelvin was submitted via heel hook by Jack Hermansson.
While the win over Heinisch was great, it feels as though Kelvin still isn’t where he was when he fought Adesanya. I could be wrong, but he seems slower.
For this one, it’s hard not to feel like Whittaker is a little bit better everywhere. Robert Whittaker is faster, has better head movement and has excellent cardio. It’s been awhile since Robert Whittaker had a knockout victory, and Kelvin has a great chin, but Robert Whittaker by KO is worth a flier. I could certainly see Kelvin getting picked apart over five and see his only real path to victory being a knockout shot.
Ultimately, Robert Whittaker moneyline at (-270) is still a great value. This is a great parlay piece.