MMA Preview – Kelvin Gastelum vs Israel Adesanya at UFC 236

AT A GLANCE

When is UFC 236? Sunday 14th April, 2019 – 01:00 (UK)

Where is UFC 236? State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia

What channel is UFC 236? BT Sport 1

Where can I stream UFC on ESPN 2? BT Sport subscribers can stream the fight online via the BT website

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Are tickets still available for UFC on ESPN 2? http://uk.ufc.com/event-ticket-info?utm_source=ufc&utm_medium=tab&utm_campaign=tickets

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THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

The first of two interim title fights at UFC 236 graces the co-main event in the shape of Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanysa. The terrible luck of the current middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, has forced him onto the side lines yet again and he will have to watch on as the contender for his title emerges.

Gastelum missed out on his chance to fight Whittaker at UFC 234, after the Aussie collapsed hours before the event requiring emergency surgery for an abdominal hernia and a collapsed bowel. He earned the shot after two of the biggest wins of his career, knocking the former champion Michael Bisping out cold and then earning a decision over Jacare Souza.

To the annoyance of his fellow middleweight contenders, Adesanya fights for the interim title after only five UFC fights. His notable wins include Derek Brunson and an ageing Anderson Silva but ‘The Last Stylebender’ is an unbeaten and electrifying striker with a bucket-load of charisma that attracts fans to fights, which is usually more important to the UFC.

THE PREDICTION

Gastelum’s only setback at middleweight was Chris Weidman, who manhandled him around the octagon. Luckily for him, Adesanysa will have zero interest in grappling, but how will Gastelum fare with the Nigerian's huge height and reach advantage? ‘The Last Stylebender’ boasts seven inches in height, nearly nine inches in arm reach and five in leg reach. This is huge, but for an elite striker this difference could dictate how the fight goes.

Gastelum has the speed and power in his hands to put Adesanya away but nobody has been able to get close enough to test his chin so Gastelum will be wise to try and get the fight to the floor. The key to capture the takedown will be to mix strikes with quick level-changes, in which he has expertise.

However, Adesanya’s distance control and ability to spring up from takedowns will give him enough time on the feet to pepper Gastelum from distance. Gastelum is going to need a strategy in taking Adesanya down, which will also be his only method to set up a knockout, but the class of 'The Last Stylebender' on the feet along with his reach will be enough to outpoint Gastelum at the least.

Winner: Adesanya via Decision

Striking and grappling stats sourced via FightMetric