Robert Whittaker faces Kelvin Gastelum in a middleweight headlining bout at UFC on ESPN 22 at the UFC Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, April 17 (4/17/2021).
In the main event, Whittaker (23-5-0), a.k.a. “The Reaper,” takes on Gastelum (17-6-0), who took the fight on short notice after Paulo Costa was forced to withdraw due to an injury. Whittaker has won his past two fights since losing his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243, and a win on Saturday will get him closer to a shot at revenge.
Gastelum is 1-3 in his past four fights, but is coming off a win over Ian Heinisch at UFC 258, and looking to turn it into a streak and add Whittaker to his list of defeated former UFC champions.
Whittaker, the No. 1 ranked middleweight contender, could have sat out on the fight and waited for a title shot after Costa withdrew, but told MMA Fighting he didn’t want to wait on the whims of the champ.
“I want to fight, I want to get better, I want to earn (money and) do my job,” he said. “I want to get in there and work. And yeah, I’ve got a lot of things on. I don’t want to waste time waiting around. I hate that.”
The co-main event is a lightweight bout between Jeremy Stephens (28-18-0) and Drakkar Klose (11-2-1). A confident Klose told BJPenn he’s already looking ahead to dropping down to featherweight after he finishes Stephens.
- Middleweight: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
- Lightweight: Jeremy Stephens vs. Drakkar Klose
- Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski vs. Chase Sherman
- Middleweight: Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Jacob Malkoun
- Lightweight: Luis Peña vs. Alexander Munoz
- Bantamweight: Ricardo Ramos vs. Bill Algeo
And this is the full lineup for the prelims, which will also air on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN Plus:
- Women’s Flyweight: Tracy Cortez vs. Justine Kish
- Heavyweight: Alexander Romanov vs. Juan Espino
- Women’s Strawweight: Jessica Penne vs. Lupita Godinez
- Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert vs. Bartosz Fabiński
- Women’s Bantamweight: Zarah Fairn Dos Santos vs. Josiane Nunes
- Bantamweight: Tony Gravely vs. Anthony Birchak
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