While this weekend’s UFC 234 card is headlined by the intriguing middleweight title bout between Australia’s own Robert Whittaker and challenger Kelvin Gastelum, it is the main card middleweight matchup between the legendary Anderson “The Spider” Silva and up-and-coming UFC star Israel Adesanya that MMA fans and betting enthusiasts everywhere are really fired up about. Thanks to this expert look at the top two bouts on the UFC 234 card this weekend, you’re going to have the insight you’ll need in order to make two wise – and hopefully – winning wagers in our online sportsbook.
UFC 234 Odds, Preview & Betting Picks
- When: Friday, February 9, 2019 at 9:00 PM
- Where: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
- TV: PPV
- Live Stream: UFC Fight Pass
UFC Middleweight Championship
- UFC 234 Odds: Kelvin Gastelum +200 Robert Whitaker -250
Analysis: 27-year-old No. 4 contender Kelvin Gastelum (15-3-1) stands 5’9” with a 71-inch reach. The native Californian has won two straight fights following a loss and No Contest in his previous two bouts. Gastelum managed to get past Ronaldo Souza via split decision at UFC 224 in May. The 28-year-old Robert Whittaker (20-4) stands 6’0” with a 73-inch reach. He comes into this bout off a pair of decision wins over Yoel Romero at UFC 213 in July of 2017 (unanimous) and UFC 225 (split) in June. Whittaker has won nine straight bouts while winning four of those via KO or TKO.
While I’m not quite prepared to say that Kelvin Gastelum has no chance at getting the big upset over Robert Whittaker in this championship bout – I really do believe it’s more of a mere formality that the reigning champ will retain his title. Robert Whittaker is the more experienced fighter in this affair and he’s fought more quality opponents that Kelvin Gastelum, including his back-to-back bouts against the dangerous Yoel Romero.
In addition to that, I fully believe that Whittaker is the more versatile fighter in this affair and his nine career KOs and five submission wins cement that argument. This will be the biggest fight of Kelvin Gastelum’s career, but it won’t be for Robert Whittaker, not to mention, he’s fighting in front of his home fans. I’m going with the champ to retain his title – by dispatching a game Kelvin Gastelum via Third Round KO.UFC 234 Pick: Robert Whittaker Via Third Round KO
- UFC 234 Odds: Anderson Silva +410 / Israel Adesanya -560
Analysis: 43-year-old Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva is one of, if not the, greatest MMA fighter of all-time. Silva stands 6’2” with a 77.5-inch reach. Silva will make his first appearance in the octagon since beating Derek Brunson via unanimous decision at UFC 208 in February of 2017. The win snapped a two-fight losing streak for the man that won a mind-boggling 17 straight fights from April 2006 to October of 2012, Unfortunately, Silva has lost four of his last six fights dating back to 2013 and he didn’t look overly impressive in dispatching Brunson two years ago. Still, Silva’s has a huge edge in experience and he should definitely be hungry after sitting out the last two years.
Since making his UFC debut also one year ago exactly, 29-year-old Nigerian-born phenom Israel Adesanya, the sixth-ranked middleweight, has made his name known – and presence felt – in a big way! Adesanya stands 6’4” with a 80-inch reach and he’s got a stupendous 13 knockouts in just 15 career MMA fights. Ironically, Adesanya absolutely destroyed the very same Derek Brunson that Silva beat two years ago, but he did it a lot easier than his all-time great opponent.
Adesanya unleashed a hellacious flurry of knees and punches to knock Brunson the hell out at UFC 230 in November in a Performance of the Night showing. Hell, Adesanya has garnered Performance of the Night honors in three of his last four fights and is clearly a special fighter with an extremely bright future.
As much as I want Anderson Silva to win this bout to become a relevant championship hopeful once again, the fact of the mater is that no man can outrun Father Time and it’s a bit clear to me that Anderson Silva has been lapped by the both, Father Time and Israel Adesanya. I’m sick to my stomach writing it, but Anderson Silva is going down in this one to a young and supremely athletic fighter, much like he was over a decade ago. Adesanya gets it done inside the finish line too!
UFC 234 Pick: Israel Adesanya Via Third Round TKO