On Feb. 10, UFC Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon for the first time since 2016 at UFC 234. Robert Whittaker takes on the No. 4 ranked Kelvin Gastelum in the main event. Let’s take a closer look at that bout and the others from the main card at UFC 234.
(20-4) Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum (15-3)
Odds: Whittaker -265
Robert Whittaker enters this contest with an opportunity to improve on a solid 20-4 record that includes nine straight victories heading in to this matchup. 14 of his 20 wins have come either via knockout or via submission. He will be motivated to add to one of those totals in front of an absolutely wild crowd that will include his friends and family in Australia this weekend. Gastelum can’t be completely overlooked after scoring wins over Michael Bisping and Jacare Souza. However, he will concede the height advantage, the weight advantage and the home advantage in front of a crowd that wants to see him lose.
Israel Adesanya (15-0) vs. Anderson Silva (34-8)
Odds: Adesanya -650
The Nigerian-born rising star Adesanya fighting out of New Zealand gets an opportunity to make another splash with a big win over the biggest name he has ever fought in his career. The most interesting part of this matchup is the fact that Silva hasn’t fought in two years. On top of that, Silva has just one win since 2012. The Spider isn’t the same fighter that he once was but he is still one of the most recognized names in the sport and his return should help sell this card. This looks like a stepping-stone type of a setup for Adesanya.
Rani Yahya (14-1) vs. Ricky Simon (26-9)
Odds: Simon -135
Simon enters this fight with a lot working in his favor, including a two-inch reach advantage that should influence him to chase his fifth-career knockout win. However, the Brazilian-born Yahya will be an extremely difficult opponent with a ton of experience. Yahya is an elite Brazilian Jiu Jitsu artist that will take this fight to the ground and try to make Simon tap. Considering his immense BJJ skill set and the fact that Simon has never faced an experienced BJJ veteran before, Yahya might be worth taking as a slight underdog.
Women’s Flyweight Bout
Montana De La Rosa (9-4) vs. Nadia Kassem (5-0)
Odds: De La Rosa -265
De La Rosa has finished seven of her nine career wins and she will be the overwhelming favorite to continue that trend versus Kassem at UFC 234. While Kassem is a rising star in Australia, this will be her toughest test yet. And there is a good chance her perfect record ends on February 10th. De La Rosa is an outstanding finisher and that fact is reflected in her betting odds at -265 for this fight.
Light Heavyweight Bout
Sam Alvey (33-11) vs. Jim Crute (9-0)
Odds: Crute -145
The 22-year-old Australian Crute will defend his perfect record inside the Octagon as he looks to improve to 9-0 in his professional MMA career. With three wins via knockout and three wins via submission so far, there is no doubt that Crute has the potential to end this fight inside three rounds. It won’t be easy against the veteran Alvey, who has 19 knockout wins of his own under his belt. Crute gets a slight edge on the betting line as he’s fighting in front of his family and friends.