April was always going to be a defining month for the UFC’s middleweight division, although we’ve certainly encountered a few curveballs to get here.
Former champion Robert Whittaker (22-5) faces Kelvin Gastelum (17-6) on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. It’s a crucial main event at 185 pounds, and it comes just one week after Marvin Vettori, another contender in the division, defeated Kevin Holland in a five-round main event.
Originally, Vettori was supposed to face Darren Till last week and Whittaker was supposed to meet Paulo Costa, but Till dropped out of this mini middleweight tourney with a broken collarbone and Costa did the same due to illness. Nevertheless, the division’s next title contender was always going to emerge from this two-week stretch, and Saturday’s main event will go a long way in determining who it is.
Right before Fight Night started, the original co-main event, a lightweight bout between veteran Jeremy Stephens and Drakkar Klose was canceled due to non-COVID reasons, according to the UFC. Now Andrei Arlovski will steal the co-main spotlight and hopes to prove he still has what it takes as he faces Chase Sherman in his 35th UFC fight.
Fight in progress: Men’s bantamweight: Tony Gravely (20-6, 1-1 UFC, -330) vs. Anthony Birchak (16-7, 0-1 UFC, +260)
Still to come:
Middleweight: Robert Whittaker (23-5,13-3 UFC, -270) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (17-6 1 NC, 11-6 1 NC UFC, +220)
Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski (30-20 2 NC, 19-14 1 NC UFC, -115) vs. Chase Sherman (15-6, 3-5 UFC, -105)
Middleweight: Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-3, 4-3 UFC, -300) vs. Jacob Malkoun (4-1, 0-1 UFC, +240)
Lightweight: Luis Pena (8-3, 4-3 UFC, -160) vs. Alexander Muñoz (6-1, 0-1 UFC, +135)
Women’s flyweight: Tracy Cortez (8-1, 2-0 UFC, -280) vs. Justine Kish (7-3, 3-3 UFC, +230)
Heavyweight: Alexander Romanov (13-0, 2-0 UFC, -140) vs. Juan Espino (11-1, 2-0 UFC, +120)
Strawweight: Jessica Penne (12-6, 1-3 UFC, +230) vs. Lupita Godinez (5-0, 0-0 UFC, -280)
Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert (31-14, 6-6 UFC, +110) vs. Bartosz Fabinski (15-4, 3-2 UFC, -130)
Lightweight: Austin Hubbard (12-5, 2-3 UFC, -190) vs. Dakota Bush (8-2, 0-0 UFC, +160)