Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is just a few weeks away from its upcoming middleweight title fight between reigning 185-pound titleholder, Robert Whittaker, and top division contender, Kelvin Gastelum, who recently finished their assignments as opposing coaches on season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF).
They’re currently scheduled to hook ‘em up in the UFC 234 pay-per-view (PPV) main event, scheduled for five rounds on Sat., Feb. 9, 2019 (Sun., Feb. 10 local time) inside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
They’ll only need one.
“I’m predicting a first-round knockout,” Gastelum said (via MMA Fighting). “I’ve put in so much work and I feel so confident in my abilities and confident in what I’ve done in the sport that I’m predicting a first-round knockout. I know that if I clip them, anybody, I mean anybody in the world, not just Rob, anybody, when I cut my left hand in, he’s going down. But yeah, Rob has a lot of heart. I’m expecting a hard-fought fight, but at the same time, I’m so prepared for this opportunity that I’m expecting it not to even be close.”
Gastelum is no stranger to close fights.
Whittaker (20-4) was named middleweight champion when Georges St-Pierre skipped town in late 2017 (more on that here). After battling a gnarly Staph infection, “The Reaper” returned to action and made his first title defense against Yoel Romero, who also fell to the Aussie when they threw hands for the interim strap at UFC 213.
As for Gastelum (15-3, 1 NC), the former welterweight contender cemented his place atop the 185-pound leaderboard with a split-decision win over Ronaldo Souza back in May. Turning away “Jacare” marked his second straight victory after stiffening Michael Bisping at UFC Shanghai the previous November.
Whittaker vs. Gastelum … who ya’ got?
For the complete UFC 234 fight card and line up click here.