The UFC interim middleweight title will probably be up for grabs later this spring, and I’ll give my thoughts on the UFC’s latest name combat announcement in the present MMA odds and ends.
Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum With UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker hurt, the UFC has decided to make an interim belt and it will be at stake at the main event at UFC 236, that can be set for April 13 in a yet-to-be-determined location. In the blue corner will be Israel Adesanya, fresh off his win over Anderson Silva in UFC 234, while in the red corner will be Kelvin Gastelum, who had his struggle against Whittaker removed at the last second the day of UFC 234.
The information of Adesanya vs. Gastelum was first reported by ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. No location was declared, but rumors on Twitter possess the event pegged for Atlanta, Georgia, though that is far from confirmed at this time.
Betting odds for your bout were published here on MMAOddsBreaker.
Creating an interim title will probably be controversial for a few considering what happened last year with Colby Covington and Tony Ferguson winning handheld belts and then not getting shots at the undisputed names, but it was a requirement due to Whittaker having not fought since last July against Yoel Romero. The UFC needed to maintain the middleweight division moving together in his absence, therefore as far as this author’s view is concerned, an interim name at 185lbs was certainly the correct decision from UFC president Dana White and co..
As far as the matchup goes, the Adesanya vs. Gasltelum struggle on paper looks like it has the capability to be a tremendous fight. Adesanya (16-0) is coming off of a decision win over the legend Silva and overall is 5-0 in the Octagon with other notable victories over Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson. At age 29, Adesanya is smack dab in his prime and shows improvements almost every time we see him struggle. Sure, the Silva fight was not his very best performance, but he got his hands raised, took no more damage in the process, along with the win ended up making him a title shot. Gastelum (15-3, 1 NC) is 10-3, 1 NC overall in the UFC and he’s got a 4-1, 1 NC record as a middleweight. Gastelum is coming off of back-to-back wins over Michael Bisping and Ronaldo»Jacare» Souza and at age 27 he is correct in his prime as well. Both Adesanya and Gastelum are a couple of the top middleweights on Earth at this time, and contemplating that the striking acumen of both men, this has got the potential to be a firefight.
As far as the odds go, they haven’t been published yet, but I would expect the offshore sportsbooks to offer something up for the fight soon. If I had to guess, Adesanya will be the betting favorite, though Gastelum absolutely will be a live dog in this fight as a result of his knockout power. It will be interesting to see what other fights are going to be added to UFC 236 in the coming weeks, but this interim name fight between Adesanya and Gastelum is a superb beginning to the card reservations.
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