Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum Predictions
April 14, 2021
Robert Whittaker -265 vs Kelvin Gastelum
Fight is five rounds at 185 lbs and is +105 to end inside the distance.
While this line might seem a bit wide on the surface, I do not believe that to be the case. We saw that Robert Whittaker has not at all lost a step in his most recent convincing wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. His striking and movement are as sharp as ever, and the former champ will be hungry to get back to a title shot.
On the Kelvin Gastelum side, I believe we have a fighter that is on the decline. What’s more, I don’t believe Gastelum was ever quite on the level of Whittaker, even at his peak.
Gastelum did look better in his most recent fight against Ian Heinisch, but looks can be deceiving on that one. He was not able to own Heinisch in the stand up porting of that fight. He was forced to resort to wrestling to cruise to that win, but that is alarming for the matchup with Whittaker. If a fighter is on the same level of striking as Heinisch, they are going to get dismantled by Whittaker.
The wrestling and grappling heavy approach Gastleum employed against Heinisch will simply not bring him the same success against Whittaker. What we will see is Gastelum having nothing to resort to as Whittaker begins to pull away and damage him in the striking.
Prior to the Heinisch fight, Gastelum lost four of six fights, including three straight against top competition. This matchup is tougher than at least three of the fighters Gastelum lost to, and is perhaps the most stylistically troublesome for him.
✅ Whittaker is simply the quicker, more powerful and better striker in all aspects. This fight won’t be decided on the mat, and the fact that it is five rounds spells trouble for Gastelum. In a three round fight I would almost certainly play Whittaker flat, but we have a five round main event. That means an additional 10 minutes for Whittaker to pile on more damage, and I think that extra time brings a finish as the damage truly adds up.
✅ When I dove into this UFC Vegas 24 fight and had not yet checked ITD lines, I assumed the play would be laying the juice on Whittaker flat. When it turned out that the -265 favorite carried a massive value of +255 on the ITD line, I simply couldn’t pass it up.
✅ I truly believe this fight against this version of Gastelum is the easiest Whittaker has had since his first round KO of Derek Brunson back in 2016. Whittaker has gone 5-1 since then against better competition. Look for him to progressively take over this fight and damage Gastelum badly on his way to finish.