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UFC 234: Whittaker vs Gastelum - Feb 9 🇦🇺


Who wins and how?   

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My opinion on Anderson as a fighter has cooled over the years. I don't think he would have been as dominant against today's crop of Middleweight contenders. I think a prime Anderson would struggle to wade through Romero, Whittaker, Rockhold, etc. For that reason I don't rank him on par with Jones, let alone the GSP. I rank him about equal with Aldo. Somewhere in the top 5 or so. 

Nevertheless, it was a heck of a ride with him. His early UFC outings were mental. The Leben knockout certainly left an impression. His first demolition job on Rich Franklin was jaw-dropping.at the time The Griffin fight was just silly.The Belfort knockout was unforgettable as well. It wasn't that he won these fights. It was more how he won them. He could leave you dazzled with some of the stuff he produced. Of course, he was also involved in some right stinkers around this period. He was public enemy number 1 in some quarters in 2009/2010. The Sonnen rivalry was one of the hottest of this decade. I was well into it at the time. It perhaps gets a bit overlooked today because it happened at a time where the UFC was cooling of a bit and the McGregor/Aldo rivalry eclipsed it only a few years later. The "Like Water" documentary made around the time was also stunning. Easily one of the best MMA documentaries. 

Then came the Weidman fights and the end of his prime. I haven't been that interested in seeing him fight since then to be honest (barring the Bisping fight). But the MMA media and Anderson himself have played the sentimental card brilliantly in the build-up to tonight's fight. I am not sure what I want to see this evening. Or even who I want to see win. But I am looking forward to it.

Edited by jimufctna24
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I’ve really neglected the buildup (was there any?) for this. Aside from bits and pieces I’ve caught on the off-chance, mostly little Izzy-Anderson bits and bobs, I’ve seen fuck all. Usually I watch the Countdown, Inside The Octagon, the fight week press conference and interviews and all that. I haven’t had time this week. Literally all I’ve seen is the weigh in. 


Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum should be a tremendous fight. Like I think Egg said, this really has been criminally overlooked. I think in big part because of the intrigue of the co-main but also because these guys don’t get involved in a lot of shit talking so the hype’s been minimal and restricted almost entirely to a few promos and the odd interview. I love this fight though. It seems like a fucking age since this was announced, because of them being tied up with TUF. Now it’s here though, I’m excited to see it.

Tough one to call really. Gastelum’s a tank at 185. He was really good at 170 (when he actually made weight) but I like him better as a middleweight. The results don’t lie either. He won TUF as a middleweight years ago and has since battered the likes of Vitor Belfort and Tim Kennedy, KO’d the fuck out of Bisping and beat Jacare. He’s a weird case because he looks undersized for 185 but he makes it work for him. Whittaker is an animal though. He’s been unlucky to have missed a lot of cage time due to injuries and stuff but you look at the run he’s been on and it’s something else. He’s won 9 in a row, stopped Brunson and Jacare then went 10 brutal rounds with Yoel Fucking Romero and, not only lived to tell the tale, he came away with the gold and a 2-0 scoreline. Whittaker vs Romero 2 was legit one of the best fights of 2018 as well. I’ve got time for Whittaker. So what if he’s not a barrel of laughs or a soundbite machine? He has incredible fights and he seems a good guy. Only thing I’m not on board with when it comes to Whittaker is the ‘tit stars’ (ColinBollocks™️). Aside from that, I think he’s great. 

Whittaker by KO/TKO for me. It’s almost a toss-up for me, this. But I think Whittaker being a bit bigger, plus more of an all-round striker, plus granite durable, plus we haven’t seen Gastelum go 5 rounds yet, plus it’s a home game for Whittaker. All added up I think he pulls it off. It’s not going to be easy and I can see him taking some abuse again here like the Romero fights. But I think he gets it done. The x-factor could be, have those 10 rounds against Yoel taken too much out of Whittaker? Whatever happens, I’m expecting a hell of a fight out of these two. It can’t be anything but really, can it? Their styles just match up perfectly for chaos.


Israel Adesanya vs Anderson Silva, like we said, is a bit of a strange one. It’s got a weird appeal though, as is clearly evident by how much people seem to have gotten into it. There’s always something cool about these Old Master vs Young Ninja clashes. And Adesanya really does feel like a newer, updated version of Anderson. From the day this fight was announced to now, the day of the bloody thing, I haven’t been able to picture how I think this plays out. I’m pretty sure who will win, but how the actual fight looks...fuck knows? Could be bags of fun. Could be a quick blowout and a passing of the torch type thing. But I could just as easily see it being a compete snoozer where they both piss about, don’t engage and basically have a 15 minute taunt/dance-off. Such an odd fight to envision. 

Adesanya by Decision. Like I said, I’m pretty confident who wins this. It’s 2019 and it’s Stylebender all day for me. Anderson clearly isn’t what he was. To be expected really, he’s coming up on 44 years old! It just feels like Adesanya’s time. How far he goes after this is anyone’s guess but this has the feel of Larry Holmes vs Muhammad Ali to me. I don’t think it’ll be a beating to that extreme but in terms of the mantle being passed from the mentor to the student kind of thing, this mirrors Holmes vs Ali in that way for me. I going with an Adesanya decision win. Just a gut feeling, as I think that Anderson might still be just crafty and slick enough to survive and go the distance. But it’ll be one sided and clear that Anderson’s done when it’s over. Tell you what though, it’d be something if Anderson pulls this off. He’s way past the prime but he’s still dangerous. Adesanya can’t afford to get too overconfident in there. I can’t see it though. I think Adesanya either cruises to a clear and comfy points win or he stops him. 

Anderson getting so emotional at the weigh in makes me think his head might not be right for this as well. And in the staredown he just didn’t look with it to me. I think he might’ve already decided that if he loses tonight he’s done and this is really one last run for him. Some fighters come into situations like that more motivated than ever to go out with a bang but I don’t know with Anderson. He hasn’t seemed quite at the races since he same back from the broken leg. And here in particular he could barely get through his weigh in interview. Part of me would love to see him win tonight and get that one last title shot. What a way to go out. But I seriously doubt it’s happening and Adesanya vs the Whittakers, Gastelums, Romeros and Costas is a way more mouth watering scenario anyway. 

So yeah. I reckon this is it for Anderson tonight. His last fight. Enjoy it while it lasts. 


Rani Yahya vs Ricky Simon could be good. Yahya finally makes his PPV debut. After 8 years in the UFC and if you count WEC, 11 years. He’s on a good streak. Won 7 of his last 8 and subbed his last 3 opponents, 2 inside a round. Real underappreciated fighter. Simon I know little about. But his fucking mullet at the weigh in. Just look at it...


I thought Douglas Silva De Andrade’s was a sight to behold but this is another level. 

I’ll go with Yahya by decision. Hopefully another submission but it’s typical isn’t it? For a guy like Yahya who’s plugged away on the undercard forever and taken the long route, he starts stringing finishes together, finally gets on a PPV main card then goes to the judges. And most likely ends up back jerking the curtain for the rest of his days in the UFC. I think Yahya wins. His grappling is excellent and he’s got the experience edge big time here. But I think Simon’s probably got enough about him from the little I have seen to see the final buzzer. Probably gets dominated though. 


Montana De La Rosa vs Nadia Kassem is a fight I’m looking forward to the closer it’s gotten. It’s a nothing fight at this stage. Both are fairly early in their careers and neither are making any waves in the title picture anytime soon. But I’m intrigued by Nadia Kassem. She’s Aussie, only 23 years old and she’s 5-0 with 4 knockouts. Her first 3 fights lasted a total of 55 seconds combined, for fuck’s sake. De La Rosa looked decent enough herself on TUF and in her fight at the Finale. They had a pretty intense face-off at the weigh in as well. 

Kassem by KO/TKO. I haven’t even seen a full fight of hers yet but I like the little I did see, I like her attitude and I’ve got a feeling this might be a bit of a coming out party for her. De La Rosa seems more of a grappler so I’m guessing she’ll be going that route. So hopefully we’ll get a look at Kassem’s complete game here too. 


Jimmy Crute vs Sam Alvey doesn’t do much for me. I can’t be doing with Smilin’ Sam, to be honest. Could be an alright main card opener, I guess. Crute looked good in his last fight if I’m remembering him correctly. 

Ehh...Crute by decision. I get the feeling Alvey’s best days (such as they were) are behind him and Crute’s a younger, fresher, new breed guy. Maybe Crute stops him but I’ve got a hunch that Alvey’s experienced and cagey enough to last but takes a bit of a kicking. 

Full predictions;

Robert Whittaker by KO/TKO. 

Israel Adesanya by Decision. 

Rani Yahya by Decision. 

Nadia Kassem by KO/TKO. 

Jimmy Crute by Decision. 

Devonte Smith by KO/TKO. 

Shane Young by Decision. 

Kai-Kara France by KO/TKO.

Kyung Ho Kang by Submission.

Lando Vannata by Decision.

Jalin Turner by KO/TKO. 

Jonathan Martinez by Submission.

On the prelims I’m really looking forward to seeing Kai Kara-France and Lando Vannata back in there. And Jalin Turner too. Bisping was hyping him up a bit before his UFC debut, he was Bisping’s main sparring partner for the Anderson fight. But Turner came up against a very underrated and dangerous Vicente Luque and got knocked out. I recall him looking quite good before that though. So them 3 are my picks of the undercard. 

Yeah it’s not the best of cards but it’s far from the worst. There’s enough there to sink your teeth into. The main event should deliver an amazing fight, the co-main has the intrigue and drama and stakes, then there’s stuff worth cherry picking on the undercard. It’s not a loaded card by any stretch but there’s something there to tickle everyone’s fancy on paper, IMO. 

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Good job the UFC pretty much ignored The Dull One when hyping this show.

Technically, Whittaker has never defended the proper middleweight title and he's been champ for well over 18 months - of course, not all his fault.

Wouldn't surprise me if the UFC throw an interim belt in there soon enough.

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