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Predictions! Breaking Down UFC 234 Main, Co-Main Event

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will take a break from its ESPN+ fight cards to bring mixed martial arts (MMA) fans its latest and greatest pay-per-view (PPV) offering, headlined by a middleweight title fight, as well as a 185-pound No. 1 contender’s clash.

Front and center will be Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, who battle for “The Reaper’s” belt across five rounds of middleweight action. Unless, of course, something dramatic happens before the 25 minutes expire.

Speaking of dramatic, former 185-pound champion, Anderson Silva, makes his return to the Octagon against kickboxing import Israel Adesanya. The winner is expected to compete for the title, which means the winner of Whittaker-Gastelum already has his next opponent lined up.

Before we break down the main and co-main event (stream them on Amazon by clicking here), let’s take a look at what “Prelims” maestro, Patrick Stumberg, had to say about all the action spread across the ESPN and UFC Fight Pass cards by clicking here and here.

UFC 234 odds and betting lines can be unpacked here.

185 lbs.: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker

Record: 20-4 | Age: 28 | Betting line: -235
Wins: 9 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 1 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 6’0“ | Reach: 73” | Leg reach: 43”
Stance: Orthodox | Striking accuracy: 774 of 1901 (41%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu purple belt | Takedown attempts: 4 of 7 (57%)

Kelvin Gastelum

Record: 15-3, 1 NC | Age: 27 | Betting line: +195
Wins: 6 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 5 DEC | Losses: 0 KO/TKO, 1 SUB, 2 DEC
Height: 5’9“ | Reach: 71” | Leg reach: 39”
Stance: Southpaw | Striking accuracy: 637 of 1458 (44%)
Ranks: 10th planet jiu-jitsu purple belt | Takedown attempts: 9 of 18 (50%)

I know Kelvin Gastelum doesn’t always get the respect he deserves, and sometimes he brings the problems upon himself. Whether it’s smoking pot before a big fight or refusing to skip pasta night the day before weigh ins, the former Ultimate Fighter (TUF) champion has relied more on talent than hard work. That should give you a pretty good idea of just how good he is (and can be), as the porky welterweight masquerading as a middleweight has been able to notch wins over some notoriously tough outs in the form of Tim Kennedy, Michael Bisping, and Ronaldo Souza. He also neutralized Tyron Woodley back when Uncle Dana allowed him to fight at 170 pounds.

He’s solid in just about every area and should not be taken lightly.

Unfortunately for Gastelum, he’s facing someone his own age and not a thirty-something veteran who’s been through the proverbial mill. Also a former welterweight, Whittaker has been an absolute monster at 185 pounds and is now the winner of nine straight with five finishes. The big selling point is “The Reaper’s” ability to withstand the bludgeoning power of Yoel Romero and for good reason: it’s something no other fighter has been able to accomplish in UFC. How those brutal, five-round wars affected Whittaker’s ability to compete at the highest level is certainly a question worth asking, but at age 28, I’m not sure he’s going to exhibit any signs of deterioration just yet.

This fight is fairly simple for me, at least in terms of predicting. Gastelum is like that entry level video game character who comes with a basic set of sills, enough to get the journey started, and would eventually become Whittaker after a series of level-ups and in-game bonuses. “The Reaper” is simply better in every department and I don’t see where the challenger has an advantage. Gastelum is not the better boxer, certainly does not have the better cardio, and won’t be able to wrestle his way to a decision. He is one tough S.O.B., however, and will likely be in the fight for all five rounds, but don’t expect the scorecards to be close.

Prediction: Whittaker def. Gastelum by unanimous decision

185 lbs.: Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya

Anderson “The Spider” Silva

Record: 34-8, 1 NC | Age: 43 | Betting line: +450
Wins: 22 KO/TKO, 4 SUB, 8 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 3 DEC, 1 DQ
Height: 6’2“ | Reach: 77” | Leg reach: 42”
Stance: Southpaw | Striking accuracy: 740 of 1213 (61%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt | Takedown attempts: 3 of 4 (75%)

Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya

Record: 15-0 | Age: 29 | Betting line: -600
Wins: 10 KO/TKO, 5 SUB, 6 DEC | Losses: 2 KO/TKO, 2 SUB, 1 DEC
Height: 6’4“ | Reach: 80” | Leg reach: 44”
Stance: Switch | Striking accuracy: 241 of 436 (55%)
Ranks: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blue belt | Takedown attempts: 0 of 3 (0%)

I know all the cool kids already have Anderson Silva dead and buried, based on his age and tough run over the last couple of years, but let’s not break out the pine box just yet. I think in the case of “The Spider,” his extended layoff was a positive (just like his last drug test), because it gave his body and mind the ability to heal, refocus, and reenergize. We know going into this fight against Israel Adesanya that the action is going to play out on the feet and that will actually work to “The Spider’s” advantage. Keep in mind, this is only a three-round contest and we can already call the opening frame a wash, as both strikers settle in, establish range, and flick the jab, waiting for the other to commit.

We never got the chance to see Silva test his striking — both offensively and defensively — against any real competition. Finishes over guys like Chael Sonnen, Stephan Bonnar, and Yushin Okami look great in the highlight reels, but are they a true measure of one’s technical prowess? Adesanya, meanwhile, was making his mark in the kickboxing circuit which admittedly, has a depressingly shallow talent pool as the marquee names jump ship in search of those MMA bucks. But even Silva’s most challenging opponents who were best known for their hands, like Vitor Belfort and Rich Franklin, would get embarrassed in stand-up fights against most of Adesanya’s past opponents, like Bogdan Stoica and Simon Marcus.

Silva is over the hill and hasn’t looked impressive in many moons, but that doesn’t change him as a competitor. Why does he still fight at this age? He certainly doesn’t need the money. “The Spider” is a fierce competitor and loves to win, and I would expect the very best version of the Brazilian come fight night. It won’t be enough, but I think some fans are going to be surprised at just how competitive this bout is, and Silva may even leave with a moral victory. If Marvin Vettori and Brad Tavares can make it a fight against Adesanya, so can the former champ.

Prediction: Adesanya def. Silva by unanimous decision

There you have it.

MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 234 fight card on fight night (click here), starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.

To see who else is fighting at UFC 234 click here.

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White: ‘Horrible Stoppage’ Marred UFC Brooklyn Main Event

Was the UFC on ESPN+ 1 main event stopped prematurely?

That depends on who you ask. Not surprisingly, UFC bantamweight champion, TJ Dillashaw, is furious that referee Kevin MacDonald intervened just 32 seconds into his flyweight title fight against Henry Cejudo last Sat. night (Jan. 19, 2019) inside Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

Cejudo, however, believes it was a “great stoppage.”

“When your body goes limp like that, when you cut weight like that, thinking you’re gonna go out there and just take my belt from me, that’s not the way it works,” Cejudo said after the fight. “So I think it was a great stoppage. This is why MMA is sanctioned now because of refs. If I was to talk to that ref, ‘You’re okay, man. We were both in there. We saw him go limp a few times.’ Watch it again and you’ll see it.”

Watch it again right here and see for yourself.

UFC President, Dana White, is siding with Dillashaw and believes the bantamweight champion was cheated out of his chance to recover and fight back following a quick knockdown that led to a mad scramble for position.

“I thought it was an early stoppage, too,” White said during the post-fight press conference (watch it). “You’ve got two of the best guys in the world, two world champions in a superfight. Let them fight; let them finish. I’m not taking anything away from Cejudo, because the fight went 20 seconds and Cejudo busted him up, but Jesus Christ, let them fight. Horrible stoppage.”

Both Dillashaw and Cejudo are down for a rematch; however, the former wants to come back down to flyweight while the latter wants to bump up to bantamweight, because each combatant wants to become the next “champ-champ.”

For complete UFC Brooklyn results and play-by-play click here.

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Midnight Mania! ‘Baby K’ Steps In to Face Teixeira on UFC’s 1st ESPN Event

Bringing you the weird and wild, from the world of MMA, each and every week night

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

The UFC’s depth of talent is never more evident when they can replace a fight without seeming to lose quality in so doing. Ion Cutelaba and John Lineker were forced out of their bouts next weekend with Glover Teixeira and Cory Sandhagen, respectively. While the UFC are still searching for an opponent for Sandhagen, they have found one for Glover: middleweight prospect Karl Roberson.

Anytime a fighter carries a nickname like ‘Baby K’, you know he’s gotta be a pretty tough dude. Roberson has been a professional MMA fighter since 2015, and he’s 7-1, with a win on the Tuesday Night Contender series and two UFC wins under his belt. He faces a big opportunity in the form of Glover Teixeira, a ranked light heavyweight on the downswing of his career. Roberson has two fights at light heavyweight, including a win over current UFC light heavyweight Ryan Spann.

Roberson’s most recent performance was a unanimous decision win over Jack Marshman at UFC 230. Teixeira, meanwhile, is looking to bounce back from a decision loss to Corey Anderson. UFC on ESPN 1 is headlined by bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw, who is dropping to flyweight to face champion Henry Cejudo.


A couple days ago Karl was feuding with middleweight action fighter Elias Theodorou

Al Iaquinta respects Khabib Nurmagomedov more than any other top lightweight

The UFC’s gambit paid off for them… maybe not so much the fighters not named Jon Jones

Are we really going to see McGregor box Paulie Malignaggi next? Please, no, thank you.

Raymond Daniels doing his best Anthony Pettis impersonation, possibly before Anthony Pettis did it.

Tony Ferguson deserves a title shot more than anyone has ever deserved a title shot.


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Someone lied on the application #bangbang

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This is another kind of knee

TJ Dillashaw vs. Henry Cejudo is an interesting bout from a betting perspective

Who said powerlifters can’t hit?

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@boxhead_mel @pain_away_australia

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Joe Rogan getting a kick out of science


The MMA Ratings Podcast

Random Land


This Chinese meme is pure

Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality

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Professional Fighters League Breaks Records with Championship Event

Count the Professional Fighters League among the other major mixed martial arts organizations that had banner years in 2018, as the league on Thursday declared that its 2018 tournament season was a success.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Professional Fighters League Breaks Records with Championship Event

Count the Professional Fighters League among the other major mixed martial arts organizations that had banner years in 2018, as the league on Thursday declared that its 2018 tournament season was a success.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Professional Fighters League Breaks Records with Championship Event

Count the Professional Fighters League among the other major mixed martial arts organizations that had banner years in 2018, as the league on Thursday declared that its 2018 tournament season was a success.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Greg Hardy Is The Co-Main Event For UFC’s First ESPN Card

The special treatment for disgraced former NFL player Greg Hardy continues.

Many members of the MMA media and martial arts scene in general have been unhappy with Dana White’s decision to sign Hardy to the UFC, due to his controversial past which includes an extremely disturbing incident of domestic violence. That unhappiness grew when it was announced that Hardy would make his debut January 19th on the first UFC show broadcast on ESPN and ESPN+. And we imagine some will be even less impressed to learn Hardy’s fight has now been slotted in the co-main event spot, just under the champion vs. champion fight between TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo.

It’s a somewhat surprising move considering the amount of pushback the UFC has received on the fighter. Leading up to UFC 231, the promotion attempted to block questions from reporters about Hardy, and Dana White flat out told media during a scrum that he was done talking about it before abruptly storming off.

”I’m not going to talk about Greg Hardy any more,” White said. “I already covered this. I’m not playing this bulls**t with you guys. He’s on the UFC roster. Period. End of story.”

Placing the 3-0 Hardy so high up the card is the UFC making it very clear that they’re all in, and done listening to moralizing about his past. Someone obviously thinks the former Dallas Cowboys defensive end could turn into a real star for the organization, and they’re providing Sage Northcutt levels of favorable treatment to make Greg Hardy happen.

The UFC fast tracked him into the league via Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, then signed him to a rare development deal where they got him a fight in the minor leagues. Now his fight sits right in the spotlight under the main event on a historic card. If he beats Allen Crowder (9-3 MMA 0-1 UFC) on January 19th, you better believe the Hardy hype train will be full steam ahead.

The big question: can the UFC turn this already tainted tale into one of redemption or will it produce a dark cloud over every event Hardy participates in, making your average Jon Jones fiasco or Colby Covington interaction seem quaint by comparison?

Here’s the full card:

Main Card (ESPN+, 10 PM ET)

Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw
Allen Crowder vs. Greg Hardy
Gregor Gillespie vs. Yancy Medeiros
Joseph Benavidez vs. Dustin Ortiz
Rachael Ostovich vs. Paige VanZant
Ion Cutelaba vs. Glover Teixeira

Preliminary Card (ESPN TV, 8 PM ET)

Donald Cerrone vs. Alexander Hernandez
Joanne Calderwood vs. Ariane Lipski
Alonzo Menifield vs. Vinicius Moreira
John Lineker vs. Cory Sandhagen

Preliminary Card (ESPN+, 6:30 PM ET)

Randy Brown vs. Chance Rencountre
Belal Muhammad vs. Geoff Neal
Dennis Bermudez vs. Te Edwards

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Mike Beltran Replaces Injured Herb Dean to Referee UFC 232 Main Event

UFC 232 already changed states and venues due to an abnormality in Jon Jones’ drug test results. Now Saturday’s headliner will have a new referee.
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Dana White: UFC on Fox 31 Co-Main Event ‘Should’ve Been Stopped Earlier Than It Was’

Edson Barboza unleashed a savage beating on Dan Hooker in the UFC on Fox 31 co-main event, but “The Hangman” showed incredible toughness for surviving as long as he did.
Recent News on Sherdog.com

Oscar De La Hoya Plans to Hold Another MMA Event: ‘I’m Gonna Compete with Dana White’

It sounds like Golden Boy MMA isn’t going away just yet.
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