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UFC Fight Night on ESPN 22: Whittaker vs. Gastelum (4/17/2021) - Las Vegas, NV (UFC APEX)


Elsalvajeloco
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UFC Fight Night on ESPN 22: Whittaker vs. Gastelum 
April 17, 2021
Las Vegas, NV (UFC APEX)

Robert Whittaker (185.5) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (185) - Whittaker, DEC (unanimous)
Andrei Arlovski (250.5) vs. Chase Sherman (251) - Arlovski, DEC (unanimous)
Abdul Razak Alhassan (185.5) vs. Jacob Malkoun (185.5) - Malkoun, DEC (unanimous)
Tracy Cortez (126.5)* vs. Justine Kish (125.5) - Cortez, DEC (split)
Luis Peña (155) vs. Alex Muñoz (155.5) - Peña, DEC (split)

ESPN / ESPN+ Preliminary Card:
Alexandr Romanov (264) vs. Juan Espino (257) - Romanov, DEC (split)
Jessica Penne (116) vs. Lupita Godinez (116) - Penne, DEC (split)
Gerald Meerschaert (184.5) vs. Bartosz Fabiński (185.5) - Meerschaert, SUB (guillotine choke), R1 (2:00)
Austin Hubbard (156) vs. Dakota Bush (155.5) - Hubbard, DEC (unanimous)
Tony Gravely (135.5) vs. Anthony Birchak (135.5) - Gravely, TKO (punches), R2 (1:31)

*Forfeits 20% of purse for missing weight

Event Bonuses ($50,000)
Performance of the Night: Tony Gravely
Performance of the Night: Gerald Meerschaert
Fight of the Night: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Rating: 953,000 viewers

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26 minutes ago, J.T. said:

Stephens vs. Klose is out due to an injury to Klose.

Well fuck. 

Anything on the prelims worth keeping an eye out for?

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24 minutes ago, jaedmc said:

Well fuck. 

Anything on the prelims worth keeping an eye out for?

Alexandr Romanov is a pretty decent HW prospect, and Juan Espino is his best opponent yet.

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I don't know if he's changed enough to beat Izzy, but this refocused Whittaker from his last three fights should create a much better rematch.

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23 hours ago, Elsalvajeloco said:

Breaking News: Robert Whittaker is really, really good.

 

7 hours ago, jaedmc said:

I don't know if he's changed enough to beat Izzy, but this refocused Whittaker from his last three fights should create a much better rematch.

Looking forward to the rematch.

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Has Whittaker changed much at all though? He seemed to me just as explosive, sneaky with his strikes, tricky with his incredibly well timed takedowns, master of adapting mid-fight, and figuring guys' timing out, yet he still got dominated by Adesanya. Looking up the stats, Whittaker did not attempt one takedown against Israel. I don't know how much of Blachowicz's game plan or style he could try against Adesanya should that be the fight, as Jan is significantly bigger, has five inches in reach on Bobby, and basically fights an entirely different style (way less tactful and skilled but it worked). I wouldn't say no to a rematch and Whittaker is really great, one of the best going, but I don't think he's improved much. He was this good before imo but he still got picked apart and made to look foolish. For the sake of things getting interesting, I would love to be wrong. 

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9 hours ago, Jiji said:

Has Whittaker changed much at all though? He seemed to me just as explosive, sneaky with his strikes, tricky with his incredibly well timed takedowns, master of adapting mid-fight, and figuring guys' timing out, yet he still got dominated by Adesanya. Looking up the stats, Whittaker did not attempt one takedown against Israel. I don't know how much of Blachowicz's game plan or style he could try against Adesanya should that be the fight, as Jan is significantly bigger, has five inches in reach on Bobby, and basically fights an entirely different style (way less tactful and skilled but it worked). I wouldn't say no to a rematch and Whittaker is really great, one of the best going, but I don't think he's improved much. He was this good before imo but he still got picked apart and made to look foolish. For the sake of things getting interesting, I would love to be wrong. 

It's been a while since I watched the Izzy fight, but I recall Whittaker not having much of a plan and trying to wing in punches that Izzy would dodge and counter. He just looked more like he was trying to brute force the problem. I also don't think he was the same dude mentally. He had health problems. Family problems. He just looked burnt out.

With the Till fight, Whittaker said he focused more on his technique. I think after the fight he said it was the most technical fight he'd had a long long time, which kind of admits he didn't bring those skills to the Adesanya fight -a massive mistake.

He also started peppering in more oblique kicks. He did them a lot in the Till fight which created some controversy. and used them sparingly in the Cannonier/Gastelum fights. I think he'll try to go back to them more with Adesanya thinking that it will be a strike that can slow Adesanya's legs while not putting Whittaker's face in danger of a counter. This may also help him set up the take downs, which have now become a focus.

Adding the takedowns in for the Gastelum fight is kind of the last piece of the puzzle. This may be a bad idea, but I absolutely believe he'll attempt to replicate(sort of) what Blachowicz did. He stated almost as much in an interview this past week. He thinks that the key is slowing Izzy down the first couple of rounds and then securing the take down in the second half of the fight. He admitted the trouble with this is that in trying to slow Adesanya down, which is a tall tall order, he'll probably lose rounds. So he can't wait too long before trying to put the guy on the mat.

Izzy's take down percent before Jan, I think, was in the upper 80's, so good luck.

Again I don't know if he's improved enough, but I think he recognized that there was a gap between him and Adesanya, and over three fights he's developed the areas he thinks he needs to close the gap. Even if it's not enough to win, it should hopefully make for a better fight, which I'm all for.

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