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UFC Vegas 24: Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview



UFC Vegas 24: Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum Preview

UFC Vegas 24 promises fireworks as top ten middleweights Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum lock horns in a potential title eliminator.

Whittaker was originally scheduled to fight Paulo Costa, but their fight was scrapped after Costa pulled out due to illness. Gastelum stepped in on one month’s notice to fight the former middleweight champion, in what is a huge opportunity for the Mexican-American, who’s 1-3 in his last four fights.

In the co-main event, featherweight powerhouse Jeremy Stephens takes on Drakkar Klose. Elsewhere, Andrei Arlovski steps in on short notice to face Chase Sherman, Abdul Razzak Alhassan faces Jacob Malkoun and Luis Pena takes on Alexander Munoz.

Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum

Since losing to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243, Whittaker has piled up a two-fight win streak, with wins over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. Should he win a third-consecutive time, there’s no reason why he shouldn’t get the next shot at the middleweight title.

But standing in his way is one of the toughest middleweights on the planet in Kelvin Gastelum, who recently snapped his three-fight losing skid against Ian Heinisch at UFC 258. Whittaker vs Gastelum is a very intriguing matchup as both fighters are well-rounded and powerful.

Both fighters have knockout power, and both are dynamic strikers. However, Whittaker has the edge when it comes to reach and movement, and Gastelum might have to take risks to attack his opponent on the night.

As far as how the fight is going to play out, expect a lot of striking action as Whittaker’s a hard man to take down, and will keep the fight standing, despite a few takedown attempts from his opponent.

Jeremy Stephens vs Drakkar Klose

Having lost four out of his last five fights at featherweight, with the remaining one being a no-contest, Jeremy Stephens has decided to try his luck at lightweight against Drakkar Klose. Both fighters are coming off losses, and would want to bounce back into the win column.

Klose will be returning to the Octagon after a devastating knockout defeat at the hands of Beneil Dariush. Both fighters are predominantly strikers, so the co-main event should also guarantee a lot of action on the feet.

While both have knockout power, they’re very different stylistically. Klose likes to stay in the pocket and land brutal shots, whereas Jeremy Stephen likes to steamroll his opponents with pressure and haymakers. This is a fight where the one who executes his game plan better will get his hand raised on the night.

If Stephens can circle away from Klose’s power shots and not let him find his rhythm, he’ll have a better chance of winning.

Andrei Arlovski vs Chase Sherman

Chase Sherman was released from the UFC in 2018 on the back of a three-fight losing streak, but re-signed with the promotion last year, beating Isaac Villanueva via TKO in the second round in his comeback fight. He was originally scheduled to face Parker Porter at UFC Vegas 24, but Porter was removed from the event due to undisclosed reasons.

Sherman will now be fighting heavyweight veteran Andrei Arlovski, who most recently lost to Tom Aspinall at UFC Vegas 19.

Heavyweights are normally known to finish fights quickly, but Arlovski and Sherman are two of the very best when it comes to knocking people out. However, they do differ in how they approach the fights. Arlovski is a very calculated and composed fighter, whereas Sherman hunts for the finish right from the word go.

Both have their chances to win this fight, but Arvolski is the better-rounded of the two fighters, and could turn the tide in his favor if he chooses to mix things up.

Abdul Razzak Alhassan vs Jacob Malkoun

Abdul Razzak Alhassan is 0-2 in his last two fights, and is coming off a brutal knockout loss at the hands of Khaos Williams. Jacob Malkoun is also coming off a vicious knockout loss to Phil Hawes.

Alhassan’s last fight was at welterweight, whereas Malkoun’s fight was at middleweight. For this fight, Alhassan will be moving up to middleweight to fight Malkoun, and given his struggles with the weight cut in the past, it’s a wise move.

The Ghanaian-born fighter doesn’t know any other way to victory than a knockout. He has won 10 times, all by way of knockout. He’s also the more experienced fighter and striker compared to Malkoun, who has 5 fights under his belt.

Malkoun has power in his hands too, but the last time he fought under the bright UFC lights, he totally choked under pressure. It will take something special from him to beat Alhassan.

Luis Pena vs Alex Munoz

Luis Pena vs Alex Munoz is a matchup between two well-rounded southpaws. Both are solid strikers, with good wrestling. Pena is taller and longer than Munoz, whereas Munoz is the faster fighter.

Pena will have a reach and length advantage, therefore, he’ll be able to dictate the range of the fight. However, Munoz has the ability to close the distance really quickly and shoot for the takedowns.

All in all, it will be a hard-fought fight, with the one executing his game plan better getting his hand raised on the night.

The Other Fights On The Card

Tracy Cortez vs Justine Kish

Alexander Romanov vs Juan Espino

Jessica Penne vs Lupita Godinez

Gerald Meerschaert vs Bartosz Fabiński

Zarah Fairn Dos Santos vs Josiane Nunes

Tony Gravely vs Anthony Birchak

What are your predictions for UFC Vegas 24, headlined by Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum?

Yeshel Asif is an MMA journalist based in Pakistan. In his relatively young career, he has worked remotely for Asian Persuasion MMA, MMA Betz, and Fight Booth.