By Nick Catlin
On Saturday night, some of the UFC’s bests duke it out at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia. KCOU Sports’ Nick Catlin offers his insight on each fight:
(C) Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Winner: Robert Whittaker.
Once Georges St-Pierre won the Middleweight title, he relinquished the title almost immediately. This would set up Whittaker’s run at champion, as he defeated Yoel Romero in two absolute wars to claim himself as the best 185 lb fighter in the world. Whittaker is on a nine fight winning streak dating back to Mike Rhodes in June, 2014.
After his loss to Chris Weidman, Gastelum got the chance to fight the former Middleweight Champion Michael Bisping. But, Bisping lost his title just 21 days prior to the contest with Gastelum. Bisping shouldn’t have been granted the opportunity to fight after the 3-round battle he went through with St-Pierre. In May, 2018, Brazilian fighter Ronaldo Souza fought Kelvin in a split decision victory to Gastelum that could have went either way. This title shot seems too undeserved when fighters like Tony Ferguson at 155 not being granted a title shot with a 11-fight-winning-streak.
Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva
Winner: Israel Adesanya
At UFC 230, Adesanya stole the show when he sparked the bigger Derek Brunson in the first round after their back-and-forth trash talk at a big UFC press conference earlier in 2018. Adesanya is also a perfect 15-0 in MMA, the 29-year-old Nigerian began his combat sports career kickboxing, obtaining a record of 25-5. With his kickboxing background, Adesanya has a unique style that most resembles former kickboxer champion, Stephen Thompson who has fought for the Welterweight two times against current champion, Tyron Woodley.
Silva has struggled in his return since his gruesome leg injury he sustained in a rematch against Chris Weidman, having four fights including a no-contest bout with Nick Diaz and winning just one. After two-straight defeats, it is odd that Silva would go against a title contender who looks to be one or two fights away from challenging Whittaker for the title. At 43 years old, the odds are stacked against Silva as he tries to knock off the hype machine that is Israel Adesanya.
Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon
Winner: Rani Yahya
Simon is riding a seven-fight winning streak, but has only found under the UFC for two of those victories. Yahya has fought in the promotion since 2011, with a total of 15 fights during that time span. Both fighters have finishes via knockout and submission, proving they have are successful in several disciplines in the octagon. But when it comes down to two fighters that are on winning streaks, taking the older more experienced fighter is the safe bet.
Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem
Winner: Montana De La Rosa
Montana De La Rosa is coming off of a rear-naked choke late in the final round against Rachael Ostovich. Nadia Kassem is undefeated, but she’s recovering from a bulging disc in her back sustained from a bike accident after her UFC debut in Nov. 2017. Prior to that, Kassem had finished her first four opponents in the first round, the longest contest lasted just a minute and 27 seconds. After going 4-0, she got the call from the UFC and won her debut via unanimous decision and has been sidelined since. De La Rosa hasn’t fought in the UFC long either, her octagon debut dates back to Dec. 2017. De La Rosa has more experience and has fought tougher opponents through her professional career and on The Ultimate Fighter season 26. With Kassem recovering from a serious back injury, De La Rosa is the safe bet going into Saturday night.
Jimmy Crute vs. Sam Alvey
Winner: Jimmy Crute
The 22-year-old undefeated Crute will have his hands full when he faces his toughest test in MMA so far in Sam Alvey. Alvey is a veteran who has fought 16 fights in the UFC, matching up against known fighters such as Derek Brunson, Rashad Evans, and just in his last bout Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. ALvey is 3-3 in his last six bouts, last one being knocked out by the 42-year-old Nogueira in the second round. Crute has three different submission victories
(Armbar, Arm-Triangle Choke, and Kimura) along with three fights finished via knockout. Crute has shown to be able to finish in numerous ways and Alvey has lost to several fighters past their prime and shown an inability to defeat quality opponents frequently.
Edited by Garrett Jones | firstname.lastname@example.org