Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker continues his bid to win his old belt when he faces Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC on Vegas 24 on April 17th at the APEX Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Whittaker was supposed to fight Paulo Costa in what would have been a title eliminator but Costa pulled out of the match with an injury. The always game Gastelum did not second-guess about taking a fight against Whittaker , even on short notice. These two were supposed to fight at UFC 234 when Whittaker was still champion but the Aussie pulled out hours before the bout due to a collapsed bowel that needed immediate surgery.

“Fighting" Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum

Robert Whittaker is the immediate former middleweight champion. The 30-year old from Aussie is currently the no. 1 ranked middleweight contender in the UFC. Bobby Knuckles was the TUF Smashes tournament winner and has a record of 22-5 with 9 knockouts and 5 submission wins. He is an orthodox fighter who stands six feet tall and has a reach of 73 inches.

Kelvin Gastelum is also a TUF winner, winning the 17th season. The 29-year old from San Jose, California once challenged for the interim title, losing to Israel Adesanya in a close decision. The 8th ranked middleweight is just 1-3 in his last four bouts and has a record of 16-6 with six knockouts and four submission wins. Gastelum is undersized at 5-9 and is a southpaw who has a 71-inch reach.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 04/16/2021

The loss to Adesanya is the only blot in the Reaper’s last 12 bouts. Since returning to the Octagon last July, the Reaper has shown a new sense of purpose as he picked apart top-ranked contenders Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, who are not easy opponents. Kelvin Gastelum looked great against Adesanya but he lost that bout and his next two fights before returning to the winning column against the lowly Heinisch.

Gastelum has fast hands and terrific footwork plus he has punching power but he doesn’t have the side-to-side movement that Whittaker does best. Whittaker’s strong kicking game should be the key weapon for him here as it will slow down Gastelum’s movement. The Reaper also loves to stick and move, making it hard for Gastelum to launch his pocket offense. With a more versatile offense, I’m picking the Reaper.

Prediction: Robert Whittaker

“Fighting" Jeremy Stephens vs Drakkar Klose

Jeremy Stephens is the UFC’s 10th ranked featherweight but is moving up in weight for this bout. The 34-year old from Des Moines, Iowa is known for his punching power but he’s been in this business too long and is winless in his last five bouts with four losses. Li’l Heather is an orthodox fighter who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 71 inches. He has a record of 28-18 with 19 knockouts and two submission wins.

Drakkar Klose is the former Rage of Cage lightweight champion. The 33-year old from South Haven, Michigan is 11-2-1 with four knockouts and is coming off a loss to Beneil Dariush. Prior to that, he won three consecutive bouts and is 5-2 inside the octagon. Klose is 5-9 tall with a reach of 70 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 04/16/2021

Stephens is only one year older than Klose but he has been fighting a decade longer the Klose which gives him the edge in experience here. Li’l Heathen also has fought better opposition so those are advantages for him, However, because he has been fighting for a long time, he’s taken a lot of damage and we’ve seen the wear and tear start to affect Stephen’s recent bouts.

Li’l Heathen was one of the hardest hitters at 145 but this fight is at 155 and he lost three in a row in this division back in 2012 before going down to 145 again. The bottom line is that Stephens has done his best work at 145. Add the fact that he’s aging fast and is very hittable. Make no mistake, he’s still a dangerous striker but Klose can win this fight anywhere he wants. His ability to keep distance and counter-punch will be problems for Stephens all night long. I’ll pick the fresher underdog here.

Prediction: Drakkar Klose

“Fighting" Andrei Arlovski vs Chase Sherman

Andrei Arlovski is a former UFC heavyweight champion but that was eons ago. The Belarusian Pitbull is now 42 and has lost most of the faculties that made him a champion. But somehow, he’s used his veteran skills to win three out of his last five bouts to stay in the UFC. Arlovski has a record of 30-20 with 17 knockouts and three submission wins. He is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-3 tall with a reach of 77 inches.

Chase Sherman four for Titan FC and is a former bare-knuckle fighter. The 31-year old is a former BKFC heavyweight champion and has a record of 15-6 with 14 knockouts. After he was released by the UFC, he won three bouts all via first-round knockout at the Island Fights promotions, and earned another UFC shot. He is 6-4 tall with a reach of 78 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 04/16/2021

Andrei Arlovski is ancient at 42 and he’s dropped two out of his last four and coming off a submission loss to Tom Aspinall. At this stage of his career, it’s unclear if the Pitbull still has power in his punches because the last opponent he stopped was Travis Browne in 2015. Meanwhile, Sherman is a decade younger, has knockout power, and is the underdog in the bout. With Arlovski’s power gone, Sherman is just going to take a few hits to land one of his big punches. Plus Arlovski is taking this fight on short notice.

Prediction: Chase Sherman

“Fighting" Abdul Razak Alhassan vs Jacob

Abdul Razak Alhassan fought for Bellator and LFC before joining the UFC. The 35-year old from Accra in Ghana won four out of his first five UFC bouts but has dropped his last two, getting knocked out in 30 seconds by Khaos Williams. Alhassan has a record of 10-3 with 10 knockouts. He is 5-10 tall with a reach of 73 inches and is an orthodox fighter.

Jacob fought in his native Australia before joining the UFC last year where he was knocked out by Phil Hawes in his UFC debut. The 25-year old has a short five-bout MMA career with four wins, 2 via knockout. He is 5-9 tall with a reach of 83 inches and fights out of the orthodox stance.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 04/16/2021

Alhassan hasn’t won a fight since 2018 and has missed weight in his last two bouts. However, this fight will be at middleweight so weight isn’t going to be an issue, which should be good for Alhassan who can focus on knocking out his opponents, which he loves to do. Malkoun got knocked out in his UFC debut and is probably getting knocked out here. Take Alhassan to win and if the prop bet for a KO win is available, go for that.

Prediction: Abdul Razak Alhassan

“Fighting" Luis Pena vs Alexander Munoz

Luis Pena competed for TUF 27 where he suffered a foot injury in the quarterfinal round. He won four of his first five UFC bouts before going 1-2 in his last three. Pena was choked out by Khama Worthy in his last bout. He is 8-3 with two knockouts and four submission wins. Pena is a southpaw who is 6-3 tall and has a 75-inch reach.

Alexander Munoz is a switch hitter who stands 5-9 tall with a reach of 72 inches. This 31-year old from Dallas, Texas fought for XKO before arriving in the UFC via the Contender Series. Munoz has a record of 6-1 with two knockouts and one submission win.

What are the Moneyline Odds?






Odds from BetOnline as of 04/16/2021

Luis Pena is the favorite here but historically, he has struggled against wrestlers. Munoz has more than enough wrestling chops to give Pena problems here and he knows that. Give me Munoz to pick up the victory here.

Prediction: Alexander Munoz

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