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Hartitz’s UFC 234 Betting Guide: Can Robert Whittaker Retain his Title against Kelvin Gastelum?

Feb 09, 2019 9:00 AM EST
Credit:

Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Robert Whittaker (red gloves).

  • Robert Whittaker (-240) will face challenger Kevin Gastelum (+190) in his first middleweight title defense.
  • This title bout between Whittaker and Gastelum pits two superior strikers against each other.

UFC 234 betting odds: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum

  • Robert Whittaker -240
  • Kelvin Gastelum +190
  • Time: Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET
  • Channel: PPV

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There will be plenty of action going down in the octagon this Saturday night at UFC 234 from the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.

Undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will take on No. 4-ranked contender Kelvin Gastelum in the land down under.

Gastelum isn’t a stranger to taking fights in his opponent’s backyard. He’s fought Ronaldo Souza in Brazil, Chris Weidman in New York and Vitor Belfort in Brazil — and all since 2017. Gastelum’s split-decision victory over the former fighter at UFC 224 in May 2018 earned him this title shot.

We haven’t seen Whittaker in action since his five-round war with Yoel Romero at UFC 225 last June. ‘Bobby Knuckles’ has won eight consecutive fights since moving up to middleweight back in 2014.

Both fighters started their careers at welterweight before later moving up a weight class. They’re each smaller than your normal middleweight, but that hasn’t stopped either fighter from racking up finishes in their new division.

Let’s break down some of the matchup’s biggest questions and attempt to find some value with the odds.

How Can Robert Whittaker Win?

Each of Whittaker’s last four matchups have been against opponents that would rather take things to the mat. Yoel Romero was able to at least briefly takedown Whittaker, but nobody has been able to consistently control the 185-pound champion for very long.

Gastelum won a state wrestling championship in high school, although Whittaker’s amateur achievements in freestyle wrestling, as well as his proven ability to stop any-and-every takedown, make it unlikely that this fight spends much time on the ground.