It wasn’t the fight planned for this UFC Fight Night Card, but Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum is a mighty fine matchup this weekend.
The original fight was Whittaker vs Paola Costa, but due to COVID-10 problems, Costa gave way for former title challenger Kelvin Gastelum.
All three fighters involved were victims of Israel Adesanya, but a potential rematch looms for the winner of Saturday night’s main event.
Online sports betting markets are available for Whittaker vs Gastelum and all undercard fights. We have a betting preview for the six main card fights, which include the highly anticipated Drakkar Klose vs Jeremy Stephens.
Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum
Robert Whittaker Record: 23-5-0
Kelvin Gastelum Record: 17-6-0 (1 NC)
Australian fighter Robert Whittaker is as tough as they come and although beaten in 2019 by Israel Adesanya, he is 2-0 since.
The former Middleweight Champion, born in Auckland, New Zealand, defeated Jared Cannonier and Darren Till. The wins came via decision, which has caused concerns about Whittakers power.
Prior to his most recent defeat, Whittaker had knocked out Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson. However, he has grown into a five-round point-scoring machine and there’s nothing wrong with that.
— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) April 13, 2021
“So losing sucks. And to lose on that scale sucked extra,” Whittaker told ABC.net.au. “I was burned out from the game before that fight, but I still went through with it.”
“I needed to go through a lot of things and the loss was a catalyst for all of it.”
“The way I was training wasn’t healthy for my body, the way I was feeling. For about five years I was doing the same program but I’m not the same person.
Kelvin Gastelum is in the same boat, so UFC bettors should expect the fight to go the distance. Gastelum comes off a decision win over Ian Heinisch in February, which was a solid bounce-back after being submitted in 1:18 of the first round against Jack Hermansson.
It broke a run of three consecutive losses for the San Jose native, who had also lost to Darren Till and Israel Adesanya. His last knockout win came in 2017 when putting the now-retired Michael Bisping on the canvas in the first round.
There is an advantage for Whittaker and UFC lines have him as the firm favorite. He is the more well-rounded fighter and Gastelum has steadily fallen in the middleweight rankings.
Pick: Robert Whittaker to win (-260)
Drakkar Klose vs Jeremy Stephens
Drakkar Klose Record: 11-2-1
Jeremy Stephens Record: 28-18-0 (1NC)
The experienced Jeremy Stephens faces his 48th MMA fight and should give Drakkar Klose problems.
Stephens is a war horse of the Octagon and although he’s not getting any younger, the 34-year-old is more than capable of getting back to winning form.
He suffered a knockout loss to Calvin Kattar in May, 2020. It was Stephen’s third consecutive loss, having not won since knocking out Choi Doo-Ho at UFC Fight Night in January of 2018.
Despite his record taking some recent losses, he’s a dangerous fighter who has more experience than most.
Klose is the more promising fighter at 11-2-1. He also comes off a loss, so it’s an important fight. Klose was knocked out by Beneil Dariush at UFC 248, which gave Klose a taste of the big time, and not in a good way.
A close fight is expected, no pun intended. We give the edge to Stephens based purely on his experience.
Pick: Jeremy Stephens to win (-130)
Andrei Arlovski vs Chase Sherman
Andrei Arlovski Record: 30-20-0
Chase Sherman Record: 15-6-0
It’s almost impossible not to like Andrei Arlovski. The Belarusian is an absolute beast in the Octagon, and although he doesn’t win every fight, he always tries his best.
Arlovski is a 42-year-old with a wealth of experience. His most recent fight was a submission loss to Tom Aspinall in February and he’s already back in the Octagon.
“The Pitbull” had come off consecutive decision victories over heavyweight prospects Tanner Boser and Philipe Lins. His most notable victory came in 2015 when knocking out Travis Browne at UFC 187, but it has been slim pickings since.
Arlovski has fought the likes of Alistair Overeem and Stipe Miocic, so he’s been around. He will be hoping his experience is enough to beat Chase Sherman, who is a rising star.
Sherman knocked out Ike Villanueva in the second round last year. He hasn’t fought in 11 months, but he’s a head-hunter and former bare-knuckle boxer, so expect fireworks.
Our only worry is that Sherman is a late replacement for Parker Porter, so he hasn’t had much time to study Arlovski.
Pick: Andrei Arlovski to win
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Jacob Malkoun
Abdul Razak Alhassan Record: 10-3-0
Jacob Malkoun Record: 4-1-0
Alhassan needs a confidence boost after two losses in 2020. The 35-year-old gets an easier task against Jacob Malkoun, who has only five fights on his record.
The younger of the fighters at 25, Malkoun was knocked out in 18 seconds against Phil Hawes at UFC 243. It was a short-lived moment in the sun for Malkoun, who hasn’t impressed us in his brief career.
We’re not surprised bookmakers have Abdul Razak Alhassan at short odds because he should be winning via knockout.
Pick: Abdul Razak Alhassan to win (-300)
Alexander Munoz vs Luis Pena
Alexander Munoz Record: 6-1-0
Luis Pena Record: 8-3-0
Since appearing, we have enjoyed watching Luis Pena fight. He is currently the favorite to beat Alexander Munoz, despite having more losses on his record.
Pena is 27 and comes off a submission loss to Khama Worthy. He was fighting well but let his guard down at the wrong moment, so we’re prepared to forgive that effort.
He hasn’t lived up to his potential since being signed in the UFC, but “Violent Bob Ross” is capable on his day. Creative nickname aside, we think Pena gets the better of Munoz, who doesn’t have much experience in the UFC.
Pick: Luis Pena to win (-145)
Bill Algeo vs Ricardo Ramos
Bill Algeo Record: 14-5-0
Ricardo Ramos Record: 14-3-0
Ricardo Ramos is a Brazilian featherweight who is having his second fight in two years. He had a busy 2019 where he fought three times, but Ramos has had only one fight since.
The year 2019 went well for Ramos, scoring two wins after being knocked out by Said Nurmagomedov. Wins over Journey Newson and Luiz Eduardo Garagorri steadied the ship.
Bill Algeo won his most recent fight via decision and most of his fights go the distance. He is the slight favorite to win, but we think value is with Romas in the first main card fight.