Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum is the main event for UFC Fight night betting on April 17 from the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
This should be a fantastic fight between a pair of middleweight contenders who were scheduled to face off for the 185-pound title in 2019 before Whittaker was forced to withdraw due to emergency surgery.
UFC betting lines have Whittaker as a significant -280 favorite while Gastelum comes back at +220.
Here are our best free Whittaker vs. Gastelum picks and predictions for UFC Fight Night on Saturday, April 17.
Whittaker vs Gastelum fight odds
|Method of Victory||Robert Whittaker||Kelvin Gastelum|
|Win by KO/TKO||+220||+500|
|Win by Points||+135||+500|
|Win by Submission||+1,700||+1,600|
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Whittaker vs Gastelum betting preview
A lot can change in two years of MMA action and a complete revolution has happened in the UFC middleweight division since the first fight between Whittaker and Gastelum was canceled 26 months ago.
Gastelum went on to fight Israel Adesanya for the interim championship that April and lost via unanimous decision in a terrific battle that received Fight of the Night honors.
Gastelum then lost two more fights in a row before snapping his skid with a decision win against Ian Heinisch earlier this year. The 29-year-old has a background in wrestling but might be more well known for his hand speed and boxing.
Robert "The Reaper" Whittaker is the No. 1 ranked middleweight contender and previously held the title before getting knocked out by Adesanya in October 2019. After taking time off to recuperate his body and refocus his mind, Whittaker has pulled off back-to-back impressive wins, most recently against Jared Cannonier in October.
Whittaker is a volume striker that combines highly technical kickboxing ability with formidable wrestling ability.
Whittaker vs Gastelum tale of the tape
|Robert Whittaker||Kelvin Gastelum|
|186 lbs||Weight||186 lbs|
|73.5 inches||Reach||71.5 inches|
|23-5-0 (10 KO)||Record||17-6-0 (6 KO)|
Whittaker vs Gastelum UFC predictions and betting picks
PREDICTION: Whittaker to win (-280) - That loss to Adesanya is the only defeat on Whittaker's recent resume, with The Reaper going 11-1 in his last 12 bouts. Keep in mind that Whittaker was fresh off a pair of brutal bouts against Yoel Romero and had recently recovered from surgery when he faced Izzy.
Since coming back to the octagon last July, Whittaker has shown renewed focus, picking apart middleweight contenders Darren Till and Cannonier. As great as Gastelum looked against Adesanya, he still lost that bout and two more fights after that before righting the ship against an unranked Heinisch.
While Gastelum has good hand speed and footwork he doesn't have the lateral movement of Whittaker. Whittaker's dangerous kicking ability gives him an additional dimension as a striker, and his ability to stick and move will pose problems for Gastelum, who does his best work in the pocket.
While Whittaker is known for his kickboxing, he's also a strong wrestler who makes good use of level changes. With Whittaker possessing the more versatile offensive toolbox, back him to win this bout.
PREDICTION: Whittaker by points (+135) - One other area that Whittaker has the edge on Gastelum is cardio. That superior fitness should allow him to shine in this five-round main event.
The Reaper is a terrific striker but he doesn't usually knock out opponents, with his last four wins and six of his previous eight victories coming by decision. Gastelum has never been finished by strikes in 23 career fights, so take Whittaker to win by decision.
PREDICTION: Fight to go the distance - Yes (-132) - We mentioned that most of Whittaker's recent wins have gone the distance but Gastelum has seen four of his last fights go to the judges' cards as well.
Both of these fighters are incredibly tough and have strong chins, with Whittaker absorbing 111 significant strikes from Romero in their second fight and Gastelum going a full five rounds against Adesanya. Expect this fight to go 25 minutes.
Picks made 04/13/2021 at 2:10 p.m. ET
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