On Saturday night at UFC 234 in the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, Robert Whittaker will defend his middleweight title against the fourth-ranked contender, Kelvin Gastelum.
In the co-main event, all-time great Anderson Silva takes on the new breed of fighter, striking phenom Israel Adesanya, in a bout with title implications on the line.
It’s a night of middleweight action in Melbourne, but there are some heavyweight bets out there for fans of UFC betting to make, so let’s get to it.
The main event on Saturday is a cracker of a fight between two former Ultimate Fighter champions with similar strengths.
Whittaker’s run to the middleweight title was spearheaded by a dangerous, multi-layered striking game. Whittaker can press forward or counter, works in combination, has knockout power in his punches and sharp leg kicks that he can set pace with.
“Bobby Knuckles” has also become an elite wrestler, winning the Australian national championships just last year.
Conversely, Gastelum came into MMA with a background in high school wrestling and has become a highly dangerous striker. On the feet, Gastelum prefers a pressure-oriented style, where he can throw in combination and look for the knockout.
Gastelum also prefers to use his wrestling more offensively than Whittaker, shooting for takedowns at nearly twice the rate of the UFC middleweight champion.
Though both men can wrestle, both prefer striking contests and Whittaker in particular will be able to dictate where this fight takes place. That means this should largely be a striking contest and there, Whittaker has the advantage.
Whittaker has more tools, works at a higher pace, and is brilliant at adjusting over time. On top of that, Yoel Romero did everything short of decapitate him in their last fight and was unable to stop Whittaker, so it’s hard to believe Gastelum could do so.
Whittaker is a -265 favorite per Karamba, and those odds feel spot on. However, Whittaker by decision is +200 at Karamba, and considering Whittaker is the heavy favorite and Gastelum has only been stopped once -- and that was by submission, a skill we’ve yet to see from Whittaker -- that is certainly worth a bet.
When Anderson Silva was on top of the MMA world, he always insisted that the fight he would most like to have would be against his clone. Now that Silva is in the twilight of his career, he finally gets his wish, or at least, the next best thing.
Israel Adesanya is the hottest prospect in MMA right now, having made his UFC debut just last year and racking up four impressive victories with a stylish, violent striking game reminiscent of Silva’s prime.
Adesanya can do everything on the feet and unlike Silva, he is also more prone to initiating offense instead of solely waiting to counterstrike.
Silva is the greatest striker in MMA history and at his best, he blurs the lines between combat and poetry. He dismantled numerous MMA legends with sublimed counter-striking and outside-the-box attacks that have since become staples of MMA.
Unfortunately, Father Time is undefeated and Silva’s style, heavily reliant on speed and timing - especially as he often foregoes traditional defensive tactics in an effort to open up more countering opportunities - is not conducive to aging gracefully.
The 43-year-old fighter has arguably not won a fight since 2012, and in Adesanya he faces an elite striker who can take advantage of the aging veteran.
The outcome of this fight is all but determined. Adesanya comes into this fight with every conceivable advantage. He is younger, taller, faster, longer, has home-field advantage, and less shopworn than Silva.
Even in Silva’s prime, Adesanya could have competed, and very possibly beaten “The Spider” based on his physical and stylistic advantages.
The best chance Silva has of winning is trying to take advantage of Adesanya’s nascent ground game, but Silva has never been much for wrestling offensively so that seems unlikely.
Adesanya at -770 with 888Sport is steep but honestly still a good value bet and certainly worth inclusion in any parlay. However, Adesanya by KO/TKO is only -140, and that is definitely worth playing considering the many advantages in Adesanya’s favor.
Finally, if you’re looking for something a little spicier and more fun to lay down on, Adesanya to win in Round 2 at +425 with 888Sport is interesting because Silva certainly won’t push the action and Adesanya is also likely to sit back to start.
Much of the first round of this one could be a feeling out process with Adesanya starting to open up as he gets more comfortable so it’s very possible Silva makes it out of the first round and well into the second before Adesanya finally cracks him.
Up to €50 Wager Free Bonus
Read Review ||BET NOW||18+ T&C's Apply. New customers only. Begambleaware.org|
50% First Deposit Bonus up to €100 Promo Code: SNW100
Read Review ||BET NOW||18+. T&C Apply|
Bet €10, Get €30 in Free Bets Promo Code: 30fb
Read Review ||BET NOW||18+. T&C Apply|
Be the first to receive the latest welcome offers, free bets, tips and strategy