I do not really have a ton to say about this Pay Per View this weekend and I will let my friend Rocky describe it to you.
There are really only two fights that matter so I will be previewing the Co Main and Main Events for Saturday.
Main Card 9pm CST ESPN PPV
Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva
This is a classic match up where it seems like an old lion is facing a young cub ready to pounce. We all know the Anderson Silva story, from 2006-2012 he ran over the entire Middleweight Division. He held the record for title defenses at 11 until Mighty Mouse broke that last year, and holds numerous other records with the UFC. He also does stuff like this…
The Brazilian is one of the greatest fighters ever, simply put. However, no fighter can beat father time and he is going up against basically a younger version of himself in Israel Adesanya.
Israel burst onto the scene last year after going 75-5-1 in Kickboxing. He was touted as a high prospect and proved it with 4 wins in 2018 over steadily improving competition. And he loves to dance in an eerily similar way to Silva.
Every question people have asked he has answered.
- Can he stop the takedown: He stuffed 12 of 15 in his first UFC fight
- Can he be taken to deepwater: He went to decision with his second fight Marvin Vettori.
- Does he have KO Power: Ask Derrick Brunson
So he really seems like he has it all and has the personality to boot. He nickname is the Stylebender and his way of fighting really shows that. He is fast, moves like a cat, and is incredibly hard to hit. Like I said he is very similar to Silva was when he was at the top.
I think he will knockout Silva in the 2nd round and be next in line for the winner of the main event.
Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Even though it feels like he has held the belt forever, this is Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker’s first title defense. The former Welterweight fought Yoel Romero in June of 2018 (I was there, not a big deal) but Romero missed weight so it did not technically count as a title defense. Oh and heres a pic of me and the boys at the event (try and guess which one is me).
After that fight, he was booked on The Ultimate Fighter to be a coach with Kelvin Gastelum, to ultimately culminate in a Championship bout. What is great about Whittaker is his toughness, I mean the man went through two fights with YOEL FREAKING ROMERO, the dude looks like he is made of Rocks.
What is even more incredible in those wins was in the first fight he tore something in his knee in the early rounds and still won, and the second fight he broke his hand and still won. He has taken unbelievable shots from the best in the division and stood tall. He has some incredible defensive wrestling and some very strong and unpredictable striking.
Let’s just say there is a reason I have him as my number 7 Pound for Pound fighter in the world.
Kelvin Gastelum is another former welterweight who has steamrolled his way through the 185 lb. division. He beat the likes of Vitor Belfort, Jacare Souza, and Michael Bisping on the way to this opportunity.
He has a wrestling background and used it early in his UFC career, but has seemed to have fallen in love with his striking and power. We have not seen him taken to 5 rounds yet and the one time he went 4 his conditioning failed and he lost to Chris Weidman. So we will see if he can last with the extremely fit Champion. The way Gastelum can win this fight is with his power, other than that I do not see a path to victory for him.
So I am picking Robert Whittaker to finish him in the 4th round to cement himself as the dominant force at Middleweight.
I hope everyone enjoys the card and especially the two awesome Main Events!
*As always you can find my Pound for Pound list here.