UFC 234 Betting Guide
UFC 234 is heading to Melbourne, Australia, 9 February on PPV. The UFC takes the octagon down under with Aussie middleweight champion Robert Whittaker defending the strap against Kelvin Gastelum. Anderson Silva, one of MMA's greatest middleweights also takes on Israel Adesanya in the co-main event. Both fights in the middleweight division could determine the matrix of the weight class. It's the past vs the present to see if the changing of the guard is imminent.
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Robert Whittaker (c) vs. Kelvin Gastelum
'The Reaper' Robert Whittaker is on a 9-fight winning streak, having not lost a fight since 2014. The Aussie became interim champion in July last year and has wins over Yoel Romero, Ronaldo Souza and Derek Brunson, all top contenders in the division. He's been touted as one of the best fighters in the world right now and has made it on the pound-for-pound GOAT list, with many experts claiming he's the best middleweight ever. His fighting style shows that he's always looking for the finish and with wins over Olympic level wrestlers, world champion Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players and elite level strikers who could possibly come and beat him? He's seen it all and beat them all, his style and ability is outstanding. The man standing before him is Kelvin Gastelum, who comes from humble beginnings. Gastelum was the last pick on the Ultimate Fighter but went on to win the series. Since then he's taken out some of the best fighters in the middleweight and welterweight divisions. With wins over Vitor Belfort and Ronaldo Souza he cannot be taken lightly. He has amazing cardio and wrestling with a powerful overhand left. He currently trains with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA where he has become one of the best knockout artists in the weight class. However, he drops height, weight and reach to the bigger man here. Both fighters have beaten and fought the best of the best. I just think that Whittaker has the hometown edge in his first title defense but also I believe he is just a little bit better in all departments.
Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva
This is one of the more interesting fights of the night, as it's two guys who are stylistically the same fighter, just 10 years apart. Anderson Silva has always said he wanted to fight his 'clone' so enter Israel Adesanya a guy who's taken the UFC by storm. Undefeated in MMA he's dusted off 3 opponents in the UFC in 5 months and he's also coming off a violent performance against Derek Brunson who he defeated by TKO. I could sit here in my office chair all day and draw comparisons between the two but it's about who can do the business at UFC 234. Silva is a big underdog in this fight and Adesanya has all the hype surrounding him right now. He's 29 and about to face an ageing fighter in Silva who turns 44 this year. Silva's record isn't too bad since losing to Weidman, many people thought he beat Bisping and he got wrestled against DC. But having said that I don't give Silva a chance in this fight, I think he will struggle to get to a decision. Silva's reign in the UFC is over and this is where he hands over the keys.
Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon
2018 was a huge year for Ricky Simon, collecting a handful of wins including 2 in the UFC. Simon has only 1 loss in his career and has an excellent finishing ratio. The brash youngster has said he's going to be looking for the knockout against Yahya and looks to make a statement against the Brazilian. Yahya is riding a three-fight winning streak all coming by way of submission. He's a serious BJJ fighter with top credentials. This will be his 15th fight in the UFC so the experience is certainly on his side. I am going with Yahya in this fight, I think the experience of fighting in other countries and his ground game will be too much for Simon. Both fighters have shown a lot in the last 12 months but this is a big step up for Simon who doesn't have the grappling pedigree. Styles make fights and this is a bad style match for him.
Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem
De La Rosa enters the contest with two straight wins in the UFC with a submission finish too. The flyweight class sees a strong, tall and heavy-hitter in De La Rosa while her opponent is 5-0-0 unbeaten with a handful of round 1 finishes. After looking at the training footage of both fighters I would say De La Rosa looks sharper, quicker and very strong, With her reach advantage and extra fight in the UFC I am going with Rosa.
Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey
Jim Crute already has a nasty cut under his right eye from training, which could be something Alvey will look to open up. Crute is a hometown boy who made his way to the UFC on Dana White's development show for finding upcoming talent. He's undefeated with a record of 9-0 and has two wins in the UFC, most notable win over Paul Craig. With a big frame and a dynamic left hook he could cause Alvey problems in the clinch. Alvey, however is a very hard puncher with an excellent left hand. His strikes look effortless. His recent fight saw him knocked out against Antônio Rogério Nogueira in Brazil but he's only had back to back losses once back in 2015. I think Alvey has the hands and boxing pedigree to go ahead and finish this fight. Although the hometown crowd will spur Crute on Alvey is no joke.
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