Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum is a main event two years in the making. Ever since UFC 234 when “The Reaper” had to pull out on the day of the event due to a hernia which, if he competed, could have had fatal results. Since the event fell through, Gastelum has been in an absolute war against current champion Israel Adesanya, a two-fight losing streak against Darren Till and Jack Hermansson and rebounded against Ian Heinisch. Whittaker has also faced the middleweight champion where he would lose the belt via knockout, he is now on a two-fight winning streak against Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. Let us break this main event down in the following Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum preview.
Kicking off this Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum preview, we will dig deep into the techniques of Australia’s “Reaper”. Whittaker has some of the most beautiful unorthodox striking in all combat sports. He can be so tight in the pocket and exit whilst throwing a head kick. Robert’s lead left hook is his single most powerful shot, that and his right high kick, a deadly combo.
“The Reaper” uses subtle lateral movement on his advancing combinations so he can favor one of his two most dangerous weapons. Whittaker carries power everywhere and, one of the lesser noticed significant moves in his arsenal is his oblique leg kicks. He will often bounce in and out the edge of the pocket with feints, then when he decides to push forward, he will often stamp on the knee/thigh to hyperextend the leg.
Whittaker has such an intimidating posture which in itself would push any middleweight back. A newer technique in Roberts’s style is his clinch work, his double under on both the inside and outside always allows him to advance position, whether that be for him to land more strikes or secure the takedown. Whilst on top, “The Reaper” is relentless and while not necessarily working for submission, he is always exhausting his opponents with ground and pound.
Continuing this Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum preview, we will look at Gastelum’s keys to victory. Kelvin is an elite all-around mixed martial artist, he can rely on both his wrestling and knockout power to secure a victory. Gastelum can counter oppressive lateral movement with feints that he will triple upon, with this comes the overhand of whichever side he is moving towards. With a shot so deadly, Kelvin can knock anyone out in a single blow. With the unorthodox style of Whittaker, Gastelum could rely on his grappling both in the clinch and on the ground.
When it comes to Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum, the biggest advantage that Kelvin holds is his counter striking. For Gastelum, this can always result in a good ground position or a straight-up finish. This will be perfect for when Whittaker pushes forward with his 1-2-head kick combo, as he can throw a bomb just as the high kick is thrown. With all that power being unleashed into an opponent who has only one grounded foot, it could result in an ugly knockout finish.
With both men having amazing pressure, it poses the question. “Who will be more successful with this?”. Well, with the grappling advantage, Gastelum could use Roberts momentum to take him to the ground and go to work for a submission or even a TKO. Before finishing this Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum preview, let’s talk about how these two top contenders match up in an in-depth breakdown.
UFC Vegas 24 Main Event Breakdown
This weekend gives us a matchup that is two years in the making and we, the fans, couldn’t be any more excited for it. We will be using the previously discussed knowledge to break down this potential fight of the year candidate. Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum has everything for even a pay-per-view main event and, with both men having exhilarating pace, pressure, and power, we can be certain that there will be fireworks.
Gastelum will be looking to use Whittakers’ momentum against him, which, can definitely work as he packs a mighty punch and is relentless when it comes to grappling. Robert can use his feints just as effectively as Kelvin and will attack the legs early on to dismantle his opponent. When Whittaker throws his oblique leg kick, he leans back so he is fully out of harm’s way, it is safe to say that this will be the most significant strike in Roberts’s game in this fight.
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