UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum Preview

 

By Kyler Kuehler

UFC 234: Whittaker vs. Gastelum will air on February 9, 2019, in Melbourne, Australia.

Preliminary Card (Fight Pass)

WULIJI “BEAST MASTER” BUREN (11-5-0) vs JONATHAN “DRAGON” MARTINEZ (9-2-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Buren brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Martinez brings striking and jiu-jitsu. They both have striking, but Buren has better grappling. His mix of jiu-jitsu and wrestling will make it difficult for Martinez to use his jiu-jitsu. Even if he manages to, it won’t be able to surpass any grappling power Buren possesses. My prediction: Buren wins via submission in Round 2.

JALIN “THE TARANTULA” TURNER (7-4-0) vs CALLAN POTTER (17-7-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Turner brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Potter brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both are well-equipped, but Turner appears to have better grappling. His jiu-jitsu is more on point and he uses it to wear his opponents down faster. He will do this against Potter while attacking him with some ground-and-pound. This will continue until Potter secures the finish. My prediction: Turner wins via submission in Round 3.

LANDO “GROOVY” VANNATA (9-3-2) vs MARCOS ROSA (6-4-0)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Vannata brings striking, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Rosa brings striking and grappling. Based on experience, Vannata will be taking this fight with ease. His jiu-jitsu and wrestling will be a bad matchup for Rosa as Rosa has little experience. Vannata will take him to the ground and begin his assault until the finish. My prediction: Vannata wins via submission in Round 1.

Preliminary Card (ESPN)

TERUTO “YASHABO” ISHIHARA (10-6-2) vs KYUNG HO “MR. PERFECT” KANG (14-8-0, 1 NC)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Ishihara brings boxing and Shooto. Kang brings striking, taekwondo, ssireum, and jiu-jitsu. This looks to be an all-out striking fight and it appears that the advantage goes to Kang. His taekwondo is on point and possesses more power. With that, he will be able to keep Ishihara under pressure while setting up and finish. My prediction: Kang wins via TKO in Round 2.

KAI “DON’T BLINK” KARA-FRANCE (18-7-0, 1 NC) vs RAULIAN PAIVA (18-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the flyweight division. Kara-France brings boxing and jiu-jitsu. Paiva brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Both have great jiu-jitsu, but Paiva doesn’t seem to have any set-based striking. Kara-France brings boxing, which he will use to destroy Paiva. With how much better his striking is, he will be able to control the fight early on. He will attack Paiva until he can no longer continue. My prediction: Kara-France wins via TKO in Round 2.

#15 MONTANA DE LA ROSA (9-4-0) vs NADIA “187” KASSEM (5-0-0)
This is a three-round fight in the women’s flyweight division. La Rosa brings striking, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Kassem brings boxing, taekwondo, and jiu-jitsu. The striking power of Kassem is going to be a challenge for La Rosa to overcome. However, Kassem does not have near the grappling La Rosa possesses. With a mix of jiu-jitsu and wrestling, she will be able to avoid Kassem’s boxing and taekwondo. She will bring the fight to the ground and control the fight with ease. My prediction: La Rosa wins via unanimous decision.

SHANE “SUGAR” YOUNG (12-4-0) vs AUSTIN “GOLDEN BOY” ARNETT (16-5-0)
This is a three-round fight in the featherweight division. Young brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Arnett brings striking, karate, and jiu-jitsu. Both are just about identical; in the defense side, Arnett has the advantage. His karate will aid him greatly by being able to defend himself better while setting up attacks. Young will just be trying to find an opening, but will not be able to get around Arnett’s karate. Arnett will continue this game until Young is worn-out and can finally go in for the finish. My prediction: Arnett wins via submission in Round 3.

Main Card (Pay-Per-View)

JIM “THE BRUTE” CRUTE (9-0-0) vs SAM “SMILE’N” ALVEY (33-11-0, 1 NC)
This is a three-round fight in the light heavyweight division. Crute brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Alvey brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Two well-rounded fighters; Crute is more well-rounded. His striking is more accurate and well-timed. He will use it to injury Alvey until bringing him to the ground. There he will wear him down and control the fight. This will happen throughout the fight until the end. My prediction: Crute wins via unanimous decision.

DEVONTE “KING KAGE” SMITH (9-1-0) vs DONG HYUN “THE MAESTRO” KIM (16-8-3)
This is a three-round fight in the lightweight division. Smith brings striking and jiu-jitsu. Kim brings boxing, taekwondo, and judo. From what they possess it’s Kim that has more techniques. He can strike better and brings more grappling combinations. His boxing and taekwondo will affect Smith’s attacks causing his defense to go down. When both are down Kim will take the fight to the ground and unload until Smith goes to sleep. My prediction: Kim wins via submission in Round 1.

#15 RANI YAHYA (26-9-0, 1 NC) vs RICKY SIMON (14-1-0)
This is a three-round fight in the bantamweight division. Yahya brings Muay Thai and jiu-jitsu. Simon brings boxing, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. Both fighters are well-equipped, but Simon has more grappling. His mix of jiu-jitsu and wrestling will aid him in bringing Yahya to the ground. There he will begin his assault until the final bell. Even with the Muay Thai Yahya brings, it won’t be enough to save him from Simon’s grappling. My prediction: Simon wins via unanimous decision.

#6 ISRAEL “THE LAST STYLEBENDER” ADESANYA (15-0-0) vs #15 ANDERSON “THE SPIDER” SILVA (34-8-0, 1 NC)
This is a three-round co-main event in the middleweight division. Adesanya brings boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, taekwondo, and jiu-jitsu. Silva brings boxing, taekwondo, Muay Thai, judo, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is a former middleweight champion and longest reigning champion in the history of the UFC. Silva is one of the greatest fighters to ever compete, but his skills have declined tremendously. He does not have the speed or power he used to. Adesanya’s striking is out of this world. His combinations of Muay Thai and taekwondo will give Silva major trouble. Add in his jiu-jitsu and Silva will just be an easy target. My prediction: Adesanya wins via unanimous decision.

(C) ROBERT “THE REAPER” WHITTAKER (20-4-0) vs #4 KELVIN GASTELUM (15-3-0, 1 NC)
This is a five-round main event for the middleweight championship. Whittaker brings boxing, hapkido, karate, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. He is the current champion. Gastelum brings boxing, Muay Thai, jiu-jitsu, and wrestling. This looks to be a possible ‘Fight of the Night’ candidate and it should be from what both bring. Whittaker’s striking will be a big challenge for Gastelum as Gastelum can make mistakes when placed under pressure. Gastelum will counter by setting up takedowns and gaining top ground control where he will wear Whittaker down. Whittaker will survive and keep the remainder of the fight standing. He will go off on Gastelum until Gastelum can no longer defend himself. My prediction: Whittaker wins via TKO in Round 3.