In a crazy turn of events, the Middleweight title main event pitting Champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum is off. Unfortunately, sometime after the weigh-ins, Whittaker felt pain in his abdomen. It turned out to be serious, as Whittaker suffered a hernia injury that requires surgery. A real bummer.
The new headliner now, is Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva. It was dubbed a title eliminator, but those plans seem tough now that Kelvin Gastelum should still be next in line for a title shot given the unfortunate circumstances. As for the fight, it’s a battle between a legend and the future. Two stylistically similar fighters separated by age and accomplishments. A fight in which every expert expects to end with Adesanya winning via knockout. However, mixed martial arts is unpredictable and these are the same experts who claimed Jose Aldo was washed up. One thing I know, is that anything can happen and I would count out the “Spider” Silva yet…
UFC 234 PPV Main Card (10 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya – Welp, due to Robert Whittaker pulling out of the main event with an injury, it’s Adesanya and Silva who will share the PPV spotlight. Adesanya is the future, there’s no doubt about it. He’s a perfect 15-0, with four wins coming in the UFC. In his last fight, he proved he’s the real deal, as he absolutely starched Derek Brunson in the first round. Now, he faces the biggest challenge of his career, Anderson Silva.
The former Middleweight king has not fought in two years and is now 43 years old. With only four fights in four years, the legend’s career is clearly on the doorstep. However, I’m not sold he’s washed up yet. And while I’m sold on Adesanya being the future, I have a weird feeling about this fight. I feel like Silva has Adesanya too emotional and he’s going to get star struck being across the cage from a legend. Before Adesanya wakes up, it’s too late, as Anderson Silva turned back the clock with a knockout.
155 lbs.: Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa Mariano – This fight is purely for Vannata to land a highlight reel knockout. Mariano barely has an over .500 record and is a live by the sword, die by the sword fighter. In a mismatch, it’s Vannata who obliterates Mariano with a roundhouse kick knockout.
145 lbs.: Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon – This is a very intriguing fight. Yahya is master submission artist, but his cardio absolutely fades late in the fight. As long as Simon can survive any dangerous positions early, I see him taking it to Yayha late. I’m high on Simon and I see him taking a big step in this fight. Simon will weather the early storm and TKO Yayha in the third round.
125 lbs.: Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem – This may just be one of the best fights on the card. Both girls are scrappy, and I just envision this being an exciting scramble-fest of a fight. De La Rosa might just catch Kassem with a submission, but Kassem is such a gamer. I can see her getting in and out of dangerous spots and keep coming forward. In a close fight, the octagon control of Kassem aids her to a split decision victory.
205 lbs.: Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey – I honestly didn’t see anything in Crute’s debut to suggest he’s going to beat Alvey. The veteran has good takedown defense, cardio and has that sneaky one punch knockout power. Alvey may not strike with volume, but he’s accurate and that’s all he needs to be against Crute. So with that, I have Alvey winning via decision.
UFC 234 ESPN “Prelims” Card (8 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Dong Hyun Ma vs. Devonte Smith – What an awesome fight. Two heavy hitting sluggers are going to go punch for punch. However, it’s Smith who’s going to survive the brawl, as he’s shown to have legit one punch knockout power.
145 lbs.: Austin Arnett vs. Shane Young – This should turn into a grappling affair courtesy of Young. I see him taking down Arnett several times en route to a decision victory.
125 lbs.: Kai Kara-France vs. Raulian Paiva – No clue who Paiva is, but Kara-France looks to have potential in the Flyweight division. Obviously the division is a question mark going forward, but Kara-France has the power to climb the ranks quick. So with that, I have Kara-France winning via knockout.
135 lbs.: Teruto Ishihara vs. Kyung Ho Kang – Ishihara has lost four of his last five fights and is again competing at Bantamweight for some reason. He’s also fighting a stud in Kang. That’s dumb. Kang is a well rounded talent, who’s grappling will easily take Ishihara down. On the ground, Kang has superior top control and will end this via submission.
UFC 234 Fight Pass “Prelims” Card (6:30 p.m. ET):
155 lbs.: Callan Potter vs. Jalin Turner – Potter seems like an all or nothing fighter, with a finish or be finished mentality. Unfortunately, I’m not impressed with his competition thus far. Turner, despite the 7-4 record, is a talent. He’s massive for the weight class and his reach is going to give a lot of foes problems. I see him picking apart Potter on the feet and eventually the strikes add up, leading to a TKO victory.
135 lbs.: Wuliji Buren vs. Jonathan Martinez – Buren hasn’t fared well thus far in UFC tenure, going 0-2. In a must-win fight, I just don’t think Buren has the talent to get over the hump and save his job. So with that, I have Martinez winning via decision.