All the results, highlights and analysis from UFC Fight Night between Whittaker vs Gastelum
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So much went down on the road to UFC Fight Night – Whittaker vs Gastelum.
We had a last-minute fight cancellation, a few missed weights, a few surprises and a few upsets.
Let’s chalk it one by one after looking at the results below
One fight that all the fans were looking forward to was the co-main event between Jeremy Stephens and Drakkar Klose.
Things got heated during the face off where Stephens pushed Klose (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-EpEVT7JpA) and matters proceeded as usual.
It was only the following day, the UFC announced that Klose was out of the fight as the ‘push’ had caused a severe migraine to Klose and he was unable to make the walk.
Sad for the fans, but a lot of them questioned, ‘If the push caused that migraine; what would the actual fight have done to Klose?’
Only time will tell.
That however, gave a chance to 2 flyweights to move from the prelim card to the main card. Arizona’s own Tracy Cortez faced Russia born, California raised World Muay Thai Champion Justine Kish.
Tracy, who fought earlier in the bantamweight (135 lbs) division has been aiming to cut to the flyweight (125 lbs) division. This time however, Tracy missed weight and was .5 lbs above the allowance and weighed in at 126.5 lbs for the fight.
The fight proceeded at catchweight and Tracy had to forfeit 20% of her fight purse to Justine Kish.
Kish was the aggressor in Round 1, attempted takedowns and submissions but Cortez’s offense was way too much for Kish to handle. Round 2 saw a different minded Kish as she came on aggressively. The low kick converted to the hook kick was the highlight of Round 2. Kish landed a vicious elbow that caught the attention of Cortez. Round 2 was clearly going Kish’s way.
Cortez started Round 3 at the centre of the octagon, landed a few clean shots and managed the takedown. Cortez’s ground and pound is too much for Kish to handle as she gives her back in the exchange.
The striking numbers were pretty close 84 to 72 (Cortez and Kish respectively), but it was the 3 takedowns that made all the difference in the fight.
Overall a great contest and a very close split decision in favor of Tracy Cortez who remains undefeated in the UFC.
The next fight on the card was an extremely interesting match up by the matchmakers of the UFC between Jacob Malkoun and Abdul Razzak Alhassan in the middleweight (185 lbs) division.
Alhassan is moving up a weight class from welterweight (170 lbs) as he feels the weight cut wasn’t helping his performance was up against PMA Super Martial Arts BJJ coach Jacob Malkoun.
For those new to the sport, you should know, 25 year old Jacob Malkoun is the wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coach of former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (who was fighting on the same card).
It seemed the entire camp of PMA Super MMA along with the head coach Henry Perez had devised a perfect plan of action to dismantle the strategy by Alhassan.
Alhassan is a world class judoka that saw a quick rise in the UFC since his debut in 2016 finishing all his wins in the first round. Malkoun clearly knew how to take the fizz out and put in a perfect strategy and took Alhassan 8 successful times over 15 mins which completely caught Alhassan off guard. On the striking front too, Malkoun landed 91 strikes versus Alhassan’s 32 which clearly showed that Malkoun had outplayed Alhassan on all fronts.
A clear unanimous decision to Malkoun that took him up to 5-1 in his pro MMA career.
Getting on to the new co-main event of the evening – Andrei Arlovski taking on Chase Sherman.
The heavyweight category is buzzing with energy ever since the likes of Francis Ngannou, Derrick Lewis, Cyril Gane etc braced the octagon.
But this time around, Chase Sherman (who originally had to face Parker Porter), had the veteran Andrei Arlovski answer the late call and put on his dancing shoes.
Chase Sherman who had his camp at JacksonWink was riding on a 4 fight win streak and was confident he would put away Arlovski who has been treated as the gatekeeper of this division since long. But again, the 43 year old veteran showed the signs of a lionheart, weathered the early storm of Sherman and pulled off a unanimous decision versus the younger fighter overpowering him in a classic kickboxing style match with 109 strikes versus 99 of Sherman.
Arlovski now moves up to 3 wins out of his last 4 making the matchmakers put on their thinking cap on what to do with this crafty veteran next. Well, we certainly cannot wait to see Arlovski back in that octagon with this killer attitude.
And now… to the main event of the evening!
Originally scheduled to face Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker had constantly mentioned the fact how he has mixed up his game plan and is ready to face anyone to get a rematch versus the current middleweight (185 lbs) champ Israel Adesanya.
However, on March 16th, Paulo Costa was taken off the card due to a severe flu and was replaced by gritty Mexican Kelvin Gastelum.
Gastelum who shows no sign of fear answered the call and was ready to rumble with The Reaper.
This fight was nothing short of a striking masterclass by Whittaker as he dominated Kelvin from the first round till the end. Being a NCAA pedigree, Gastelum didn’t have an answer to the combinations of Whittaker.
Round 1 saw the signature combination of a one-two followed by a head kick that landed flush on Gastelum. It seemed that it shook Gastelum for the rest of the fight. The constant side kick to the knees and slick right hands proved too much for Gastelum. Securing 4 perfect takedowns proved costly for Gastelum and in the striking arena, Whittaker outstruck Gastelum 169 to 70.
Midway through the fight, it seemed Kelvin had given up and probably didn’t have an answer to Whittaker’s game plan. It was only in Round 5, Kelvin turned up the heat as he knew the only way he could win this is if he secures a knockout over The Reaper.
Whittaker on the other hand was classy and composed, picked his shots and outclassed Gastelum in all departments and took home the unanimous decision.
This fight was declared the Fight of the Night adding $50,000/- to the purse of both fighters.
With this, Whittaker sets up another clash with the champion Israel Adesanya at a future date. A fight we cannot wait to see!
Till then, do not go anywhere. Catch more exciting news and updates only on SPOGO News and do tune in to my latest episode – Episode 8 of The Fighting G.O.A.T where I speak extensively on the crossovers from Boxing to MMA and MMA to Boxing. All this only on the IVM Podcast Network. You can also hear the podcast on Spotify, Google Podcasts and Apple Podcasts.
About the author
Somesh Kamra is a professional mixed martial artist specializing in Muay Thai. He has designed many effective training programs for Superhuman Gym and the Police Academy. His knowledge of hand to hand combat is unbeaten and has been a success story for many students. Somesh Kamra is educated from the University of Gold's Gym in the field of physical fitness that includes strength training, plyometrics & cardiovascular training for muscular conditioning.
He works closely with the UFC for India and serves as the panelist for the TV Show – The Ultimate Guide to UFC and Pit Stop on Sony Sports Network.
Somesh runs India’s first combat podcast – The Fighting G.O.A.T produced exclusively by the IVM Podcast Network.