LAS VEGAS — On a night when a social media star knocked out a former MMA champion in a ridiculously one-sided fashion, Robert Whittaker reminded the world what a true fighter is all about.
The former UFC middleweight champion put on a master class Saturday at Apex, beating Kelvin Gastelum in every area and scoring a dominating unanimous decision victory.
Judges scored it 50-45 on all cards for Whittaker. Yahoo Sports also had it 50-45 for Whittaker.
The win almost certainly sets up a rematch with Israel Adesanya for the middleweight title.
Whittaker showed championship timber on Saturday, beating Gastelum with a variety of strikes. The fight was mostly contested on the feet, and Gastelum just couldn’t handle Whittaker’s variety of shots nor his accuracy.
Whittaker was catching him with clean shots repeatedly, breaking through the guard with a straight right, and throwing just about every punch in the book. At one point in the third round, Whittaker baited Gastelum in, who fired a big right. Whittaker ducked under, stepped to the side and cracked Gastelum with a counter right that sent sweat and blood flying.
Gastelum fought hard and kept attacking, but he wasn’t connecting nearly often enough despite bloodying Whittaker’s nose and mouth and causing his face to swell.
The two were supposed to fight for the middleweight belt in Australia in 2019, but on the morning of the fight, Whittaker had to pull out of the fight and undergo emergency surgery.
Gastelum took this fight as a replacement on about a month’s notice when Paulo Costa was ill and pulled out of the bout.
It gave the UFC a solid, entertaining and competitive main event as opposed to the spectacle on the opposite site of the country where Jake Paul knocked out former UFC star and Bellator and ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren in the first.
Whittaker and Gastelum kept a high pace and showed why they’re considered at the top of their games.
Whittaker, though, is almost without peer and in just about every area, he was a little bit better than the eighth-ranked Gastelum.
The two embraced and shared friendly words after the battle that should send Whittaker into a rematch for the middleweight belt with Adesanya. Adesanya knocked out Whittaker in 2019 to win the title.
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