‘They’re Very Different Opponents’- Robert Whittaker Reacts to Change in Opponent

Published 04/04/2021, 11:47 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 26: (L-R) Robert Whittaker of New Zealand punches Darren Till of England in their middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 26, 2020 in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


The UFC has a lot of fighters, and naturally, they are a unique set of athletes. The former middleweight champion of the world, Robert Whittaker, is one of the better ones.

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He lost his title to the greatest middleweight that the sport ever saw in Israel Adesanya in 2019. After that defeat, he bounced back to win fights against Jared Cannonier and Darren Till.

As a result of that amazing form, he was set to fight Paulo Costa, who himself lost to Adesanya, losing his unbeaten record.

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However, fate would intervene, and Costa had to withdraw from the fight after he got stuck with a severe case of the flu. Luckily, Kelvin Gastelum stepped in to fight Whittaker on short notice for a fight on 17th April.

The Australian talked to the media after the change and revealed his thoughts on the situation. “My OCD flared up, to begin with, and I was very upset, but I got over it pretty quickly,” Whittaker said in an interview with ESPN MMA.

Fortunately, me and Kelvin were scheduled to fight a couple (of) years back, and I’ve done work for him. I’ve had a lot of work with southpaws and for southpaws in the last few years, so making the adjustment in the switch wasn’t too hard,” he said.

Robert Whittaker ready to roll with anything that happens

Whittaker also talked about the difference between both of the fighters. Costa is someone who favors striking and has subpar wrestling skills. Gastelum, on the other hand, is primarily a wrestler.

They’re very different opponents. One’s a southpaw, one’s an orthodox, and they’re very different body types, but sometimes you just gotta roll with it,” he concluded.

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JULY 24: Robert Whittaker of New Zealand poses on the scale during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on July 24, 2020, in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Gastelum has some momentum on his side after he beat Ian Heinisch in February. However, he has lost 4 of his last 7 fights and needs to win this to plan a charge for the title. It will be an interesting fight. A classic striker versus grappler match-up, don’t take your eyes off of this one.

Do you think Kelvin Gastelum can beat Robert Whittaker?

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Aniket Awasthi

189 articles

Aniket Awasthi is a UFC author at EssentiallySports. This STEM undergraduate combines an insatiable urge to write with his admiration for MMA and the UFC in general to enhance his journalism. He calls charismatic names like Chael Sonnen and 'The Count' Michael Bisping as his favorite fighters, but he is a great admirer of the rise of Israel Adesanya ever since he fought Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221.

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