UFC booking Israel Adesanya – Marvin Vettori 2

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a middleweight title matchup for their June PPV. Combate was the first to report that the promotion was getting close to booking Israel Adesanya (20-1) against Marvin Vettori (17-4-1). Dana White hinted that the UFC was heading in this direction this week.

The rematch between these two will take place on June 12th and it will be the headliner of UFC 263. Originally, the promotion wanted Robert Whittaker (23-5) to be the one to face off against Adesanya on June 12th. However, Whittaker wanted a little more time before his rematch with Adesanya.

With Vettori ready to go, the UFC shifted gears to the next man in line. The Italian Dream has now won five fights in a row since his loss to Adesanya. Something that will get brought up in the buildup to UFC 263 is their first matchup. Adesanya won the fight by split decision, however, Vettori is adamant that he won the fight.

For the record, I believe the right man won that night. Both have been extremely successful since their first matchup and both are much more polished now. Marvin Vettori is going to go after Israel Adesanya at UFC 263 with ever intention on capturing the middleweight title.

UFC middleweight return for Stylebender

UFC 263 will mark the middleweight return of Israel Adesanya. Back in March, Adesanya moved to light heavyweight to try and become a two-division champion. However, he ultimately fell short and suffered his first career loss at the hands of Jan Blachowicz.

Adesanya took the loss extremely well and he seems motivated to defend his UFC title. Nobody in the middleweight division has been able to stop Adesanya. Since joining the promotion back in 2018, Adesanya is a perfect 9-0 in the UFC’s middleweight division.

Make no mistake about it, Adesanya is the best middleweight in the sport. However, Marvin Vettori could use a strategy that Jan Blachowicz used at UFC 259. Vettori just showed against Kevin Holland that he can lean on his wrestling. In fact, he did that in the first matchup. Adesanya will be the massive favorite, but there is a path for The Italian Dream.

After his loss at UFC Vegas 24, where does Kelvin Gastelum go from here?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 24, Kelvin Gastelum (16-7, 1 NC) had a golden opportunity. Entering 2021, Gastelum was not looking great in terms of being a top contender at middleweight.

The former interim title challenger had lost three fights in a row heading into 2021. Gastelum was scheduled to take on Ian Heinisch earlier this year and it was a fight that was pivotal for Gastelum moving forward.

The two fought at UFC 258 and Gastelum went back to his wrestling roots to snap his losing streak. With taking no damage in the Heinisch fight, Gastelum told the UFC that he would be ready to fill in if someone fell out of the upcoming middleweight main events.

Robert Whittaker (23-5) was set to headline UFC Vegas 24 against Paulo Costa. However, Costa ended up sick and had to pull out of the fight due to his inability to train. With that, Gastelum volunteered to step in.

Originally, Gastelum was supposed to face Whittaker at UFC 234 for the middleweight title. However, Whittaker had to pull out of that fight after having to undergo emergency surgery the day of the fight. If Gastelum was able to pull off a victory, he would’ve been right back in title contention.

However, that didn’t happen at UFC Vegas 24. Gastelum did have moments where he hit Whittaker clean, but overall he was a step behind all night. Whittaker rocked him a couple of times and ended up with a clean sweep on the judges scorecards.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 24?

With this loss at UFC Vegas 24, Gastelum is just 1-4 in his last five fights. A couple of years ago, Gastelum looked like he could be a middleweight champion, but it’s really hard to imagine that scenario now.

So where does Kelvin Gastelum go from here? Well, I personally would love to see Gastelum attempt to cut back to 170 pounds. I truly believe that if he did it the right way, Gastelum could be a force in the UFC’s welterweight division.

However, I don’t believe that’s likely. In looking at the middleweight division, I think a perfect next opponent would be Kevin Holland (21-7). Holland was 5-0 in 2020, but has come back down to earth in 2021 with headlining losses to Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson.

Still, The Trailblazer is still ranked 12th at middleweight. He’s talked about moving to welterweight as well, but if he stays at 185 pounds, I think he would be the perfect opponent for Gastelum’s next UFC fight.

After dominant win at UFC Vegas 24, what’s next for Robert Whittaker?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 24, Robert Whittaker (23-5) and Kelvin Gastelum (16-7, 1 NC) headlined the card. This fight was two years in the making after their first fight fell through at UFC 234.

Whittaker and Gastelum coached opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter and were set to fight for the middleweight title. However, the morning of UFC 234, Whittaker had to have emergency surgery and the fight was called off.

Two years later, the two men finally met inside the octagon. In a pure striking match, I figured Whittaker would have the advantage. Outside of the middleweight champion, it’s hard to defeat Robert Whittaker on the feet with his diverse attack and speed.

Gastelum was just a step behind at UFC Vegas 24. He would hit Whittaker throughout the evening, but for the most part, he was getting touched up by the former champion. Bobby Knuckles noticeably wobbled Gastelum on a couple of occasions.

On a night where most of the fights were slow at UFC Vegas 24, this one delivered. These two stood and traded all night, but as mentioned, Whittaker always got the best of it and the former champion walked away with a clean sweep on the scorecards.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 24?

After UFC Vegas 24, there is only one fight for Robert Whittaker. That fight would be a rematch with the current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-1). There is nothing left for Whittaker to prove.

Whittaker was knocked out by Adesanya at UFC 243 in 2019. It was the first and still is the only loss Whittaker has ever suffered at middleweight. Adesanya expressed interest in fighting Darren Till and Jared Cannonier in 2020.

Well, Whittaker took both of them out. Now, after a dominant win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24, Bobby Knuckles has won three straight. It’s time that the UFC puts together a rematch and perhaps they could do it in Australia or New Zealand again in front of a packed house.

UFC Vegas 24 Preview: Robert Whittaker – Kelvin Gastelum

In the main event of UFC Vegas 24, we are going to see a pivotal matchup in the middleweight division. Former champion Robert Whittaker (22-5) is back as he takes on former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC).

Originally, these two were supposed to face each other at UFC 234 in 2019 for the middleweight title. The two coached against each other on The Ultimate Fighter and they were set to headline a PPV in Australia.

However, the night before the fight, Whittaker had to be rushed to the hospital with stomach issues. An emergency procedure kept Bobby Knuckles out of the title fight and Gastelum never got his shot at the UFC title.

Instead, Gastelum ended up facing Israel Adesanya a couple of months later for the interim title. Gastelum lost that fight and that started a three-fight losing streak for Gastelum inside the octagon.

However, at UFC 258 Gastelum got back on track with a win over Ian Heinisch. After Paulo Costa got sick and fell out of this main event slot against Whittaker, Gastelum jumped at the opportunity to try and get right back into title contention.

Bobby Knuckles lost his UFC middleweight title to Israel Adesanya. Since that loss, he’s taken out the top two contenders that Adesanya wanted to face. He defeated Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. If Whittaker wins at UFC Vegas 24, it’s hard to deny him of a rematch with Adesanya.

UFC Vegas 24 Preview

I’m very much looking forward to tomorrow night’s UFC main event. Again, this is a fight that is a couple of years in the making and I expect fireworks between the two middleweights tomorrow night.

One big key for me is going to be the kicks of Robert Whittaker. Both men have incredible fast hands, but it’s the kicks of the former UFC champion that could play a huge factor in tomorrow night’s outcome.

I also want to see if Gastelum can land any takedowns or if he can get any control along the fence. I believe he’s going to need to use some of his grappling skills if he wants to beat Whittaker tomorrow night.

Ultimately, I just don’t see Gastelum beating Whittaker. I love the overall game of the former middleweight champion and I think he’s going to get it done. Not just that, I think he becomes the first man to stop Gastelum via strikes at UFC Vegas 24.

Prediction: Robert Whittaker by TKO – Round 3

UFC: Kelvin Gastelum steps in to face Robert Whittaker on April 17th

Earlier today, we learned that the UFC‘s main event on April 17th had lost one of it’s headliners. Paulo Costa (13-1) came down with the flu and as a result he couldn’t train for his upcoming main event slot against Robert Whittaker (22-5).

As a result, Costa had to pull out of the fight. The UFC was thinking about potentially moving the fight back, but with the uncertainty of Costa’s condition, they decided to move on to try and find a replacement.

Former interim title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC) immediately volunteered. Gastelum just defeated Ian Heinisch back at UFC 258 and after the win, he said he’d stay ready in order to step in for one of the upcoming middleweight main events.

Sure enough, Costa fell out and a replacement was needed. The UFC contacted Gastelum and the sides came to an agreement. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that the promotion had finalized the deal for Gastelum to step in.

UFC title fight we never saw

Many will remember that this isn’t the first time the UFC has paired these two against each other. Originally, these two were supposed to fight in Australia back in 2019 with the UFC middleweight title on the line.

The day of the fight, Whittaker had to pull out of the fight. Whittaker had to have emergency surgery and was on the sidelines for a while. Gastelum ended up fighting Israel Adesanya for the interim title and came up short.

Adesanya of course would then go on to defeat Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title. We never got to see these two compete for the UFC title. However, now we are going to see them compete in a UFC main event. Whoever wins this matchup is going to put themselves in a great position to be the next challenger.

UFC: Paulo Costa is ill and has pulled out of the Robert Whittaker fight

One of the more anticipated UFC main events in the next month is off. Paulo Costa (13-1) has come down with the flu and he has pulled out of his main event against former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

The news of Costa withdrawing has been confirmed after AG.Fight initially reported that the fight could be in trouble. Costa has come down with the flu. The flu has him to the point where he cannot properly train for the main event slot.

The matchup was set to take place on April 17th. This is one of many fights in the UFC‘s middleweight division over the next month that is being looked at as a potential title eliminator considering these are the top two guys in the division.

For Costa, this fight was supposed to be a chance for redemption. Costa got his title shot at UFC 253 and fell completely flat against Israel Adesanya (20-1). The fight was completely dominated by Stylebender. Costa has blamed a night of drinking wine for his poor performance at UFC 253.

Tough break for the former UFC champion

As of now the UFC is currently talking about pushing this fight back to either May 1st or May 8th if Costa can be ready. If not, there is also talk about potentially seeking out a different opponent for Whittaker, although, the promotion would like to keep these two paired.

You have to really feel for Robert Whittaker. Whittaker was dominant in his run to the middleweight title and has only lost once at 185 pounds. After he lost his UFC title, he’s gone on to defeat the top two contenders who Israel Adesanya was interested in facing.

In reality, Whittaker deserves a rematch with Adesanya, but the UFC hasn’t given that to him. Instead, he is being forced to fight another top contender to earn that shot. This will be a situation to monitor over the coming days.

Paulo Costa blames wine and lack of sleep for UFC 253 loss

We are a few months removed from UFC 253. That night, the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), took on the previously unbeaten challenger, Paulo Costa (13-1). The fight was one of the more anticipated matchups of 2020.

However, the fight failed to live up to the hype mainly due to the challenger. While Adesanya was brilliant in scoring the knockout win at UFC 253, Costa fought extremely flat. He didn’t land anything significant before Adesanya landed the finishing blows.

It was such an odd performance from Paulo Costa. Prior to that loss, Costa was always known as someone who pushes forward with a ridiculous pace. However, at UFC 253, Costa was stuck on the outside and he didn’t push forward at all.

This left a lot of fans scratching their heads. Costa is currently prepping for his next matchup against Robert Whittaker. Their fight takes place in April and the winner is likely going to get another crack at the UFC middleweight champion.

Costa has broken his silence about his last performance. Over the weekend, Costa took to his YouTube page to talk about the loss. In all honesty, I was a little surprised to hear what he had to say and what he attributes the loss to.

UFC 253 sabotaged by a hangover?

On the UFC 253 loss, Costa said, “I was kind of drunk when I fought, maybe hungover. I couldn’t sleep because of leg cramps. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30.”

“It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose [to do], but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for 24 hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle to try to black out. I had a glass and didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle, didn’t work. I had it all.”

Clearly, it doesn’t sound like the condition were ideal for Costa. However, it’s not like his experience on Fight Island was unique. All of the fighters had to go through the same issues when they were fighting in Abu Dhabi.

Now, maybe there were more factors at play here. Perhaps the nerves of the moment caused Costa to be anxious which prevented him from sleeping. There are a number of question marks, but it was clear that we didn’t see the usual Costa back in September.

When he steps into the cage next, he needs to prove to the UFC and himself that the last fight was a fluke. Costa must show the world that he’s still the Paulo Costa we thought he was if he wants any chance at a rematch with Israel Adesanya.

UFC books headliner between Darren Till and Marvin Vettori

The UFC is making moves with their middleweight division. Last night, we learned that the promotion had finalized a bout between Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker that would headline a Fight Night on April 17th. 

Today, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the UFC has finalized another incredible middleweight matchup. On April 10th, Darren Till (18-3-1) and Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) will headline another Fight Night.

This is going to be a massive seven day stretch for the middleweight division. Darren Till last fought back in July when he took on former UFC champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

The fight was extremely close, but Whittaker pulled out a decision. Till was originally supposed to headline a card against Jack Hermansson (21-6) in December, however he ended up injured and the promotion moved to Kevin Holland (21-5).

However, Holland ended up testing positive for COVID and he was pulled from that fight. That is when Marvin Vettori stepped into the picture. Vettori had another fight booked, but stepped up for the UFC and took that fight against Hermansson.

UFC’s Middleweight Division

Marvin Vettori looked sensational in December when he fought Hermansson. In his first UFC headliner, Vettori dropped and hurt Hermansson early on. He went on to dominate the fight for all five rounds.

The win was a massive statement and the fourth straight for Vettori. Vettori now finds himself fourth in the UFC’s middleweight rankings one spot behind Darren Till. However, Vettori has expressed frustrations with being ranked behind Till.

Nevertheless, now the two will get a chance to prove who is the better fighter. As mentioned, this is a huge seven day stretch for the middleweight division. Let us not forget that Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson (21-7) are also headlining a Fight Night on March 20th. 

This stretch from March through April has big implications for the middleweight division. Israel Adesanya (20-0) is moving up to challenge for the light heavyweight title, however, upon his return to middleweight, there should be a lot of clarity with all these matchups.

UFC books Robert Whittaker – Paulo Costa

The UFC has finalized a massive fight in their middleweight division this evening. First reported by Sherdog, the promotion has booked a headliner between former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5), and Paulo Costa (13-1).

This UFC main event will take place on April 17th. For the last month or two, this fight was being rumored. The current middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), is moving up to challenge for the light heavyweight championship at UFC 259.

Robert Whittaker was due for a rematch against Adesanya. Whittaker went 2-0 in 2020 and the two guys he beat were supposed to get title shots had they beaten Whittaker. However, Whittaker messed up those plans.

Bobby Knuckles has only lost once in the last six years in the middleweight division. That one loss has come to Israel Adesanya. If there’s anyone that deserves a rematch, it’s Robert Whittaker. However, Dana White recently said that Whittaker would have to fight again before getting that UFC title shot.

Big UFC Middleweight Battle

That is where Borrachinha enters the picture. Paulo Costa is coming off of a loss to Israel Adesanya back at UFC 253. Costa was the unbeaten challenger who many felt would push Adesanya to the limits.

However, Costa had a really tough time getting going against Adesanya. Adesanya brutalized him with leg kicks and shots from the outside. Eventually, the UFC champion caught Costa and put him down for good in the second round.

Costa got right back in the gym after the fight and he’s been making improvements. His team has been calling for a shot at Whittaker with Adesanya moving up for now and they got their wish.

However, originally Costa’s management wanted this fight to be for the interim UFC middleweight title. Dana White said recently that there would be no interim title despite the fact that Adesanya is moving up.

As of now, the UFC’s plan is for Adesanya to face the winner later in the year. Adesanya has made it clear that he plans to return to middleweight after capturing a second title. One of these two killers will be waiting for him upon his return.

Should Robert Whittaker be upset with the UFC?

There is not really any doubt as to who is the number one contender in the UFC‘s middleweight division. The top contender in the division is the former champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

Whittaker lost the title to Israel Adesanya (20-0) at UFC 243 in 2019. However, outside of that fight against Adesanya, Whittaker has been perfect in the middleweight division. There’s been nobody who’s been able to defeat him.

Recently, it was announced that the UFC is having Adesanya move up to face Jan Blachowicz (27-8) at UFC 259. Adesanya will be attempting to become a two-division champion by capturing the light heavyweight championship.

The fighter that’s left in limbo in this situation is Robert Whittaker. There is nobody in the middleweight division that is more deserving of a shot at Adesanya than Whittaker. However, the promotion doesn’t believe that he’s ready for a shot at the title.

After UFC 254, Dana White said that Whittaker would be next for Adesanya. The promotion wanted to turn the fight around quick, but with a baby on the way, Whittaker wanted to spend the holidays with his family. That’s when the promotion changed their tune.

Should Whittaker be upset with the UFC?

Dana White said recently that Whittaker needs to fight someone else before he gets his next UFC title shot. In my opinion, this should be incredibly frustrating for the former middleweight champion.

Whittaker’s only loss at middleweight was to Adesanya. Outside of that, he’s been unbeaten since 2014. Darren Till (18-3-1) and Jared Cannonier (13-5) were both guaranteed title shots if they beat Whittaker in 2020.

However, Whittaker beat both of those contenders. It’s puzzling that the logic from the promotion is that Whittaker needs another win, however, I know that they’ll say it’s because he turned down their timeline for the middleweight title shot.

Yet, Jan Blachowicz had the same issue as Whittaker. Blachowicz just had a baby with his wife before resuming training for their fight in March. I have a strong feeling that Whittaker could have made that timeline work.

Ultimately, I believe the UFC and Adesanya were only interested in the Whittaker fight if it was able to happen quickly. The plan has been for them to move Adesanya up to light heavyweight to further his star power.

However, it’s not fair to the former champion. People have had title shots for much less and champions who have lost have gotten immediate title shots with less of a championship resume. I absolutely believe that Whittaker should be frustrated.