UFC 234 Live: UFC 234, which happens at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena, is headlined by a middleweight title bout pitting reigning champion ‘Bobby Knuckles’ Robert Whittaker versus ‘No nickname’ Kelvin Gastelum. This is Whittaker’s first title defense since he claimed the interim belt with a win over Yoel Romero in 2017. Whittaker’s interim status was upgraded to undisputed shortly after.
He beat Romero last year, too, but that was a non title belt thanks to some rogue ounces on Romero. For Gastelum this is his first title fight and it comes off of a two fight winning streak where he dispatched of Michael Bisping and Jacare Souza. Will he taste gold after the first chance he gets or will Whittaker keep the belt in Australia.
The co-main event presents another middleweight clash. Here the rising star Israel Adesanya will take on living legend Anderson Silva. Adesanya, one of last year’s most hyped prospects, will likely be in title contention if he is able to knock off the biggest name that has ever stood opposite him. For Silva, he’s just fighting for bragging rights at this stage of his career. Will the Spider show he still has some venom or are we about to enter the Stylebender Era?
The rest of the PPV card leaves a lot to be desired. It’s rounded out by Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon (bantamweight), Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem (flyweight), and Jim Crute vs. Sam Alvey (light heavyweight).
We are all set for the first UFC pay-per-view event of 2019, though just hours prior to UFC 234 taking place in Melbourne, Australia, the card was dealt a crushing blow. Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, who was set to defend his title against Kelvin Gastelum, was forced to pull out due to a hernia that required immediate surgery. Still, a huge middleweight showdown will headline the festivities.
The new main event of UFC 234 will now see former middleweight champ Anderson Silva take on undefeated Israel Adesanya in a bout that will be an intriguing battle of dangerous strikers. Adesanya has been quickly making a name for himself as he’s torn through the competition, and now he’ll have the main event spotlight against one of the greatest to ever step into the Octagon.
Eugene Bareman, Israel Adesanya’s coach: Anderson Silva is the Lance Armstrong of MMA. For me, he cheated. And I’m a very stand up guy. MMA fans, for one or another reasons, they’re not the same as cycling fans. MMA fans forget quickly when someone cheats. But I’m not like that. If you do something wrong and it’s proven and factual, then I hold that against him about it. I don’t hold it against you like I wanna beat you up, I just want nothing to do with you.
Anderson Silva: Inside the cage, everybody is not joking. Sometimes big accidents happen. I broke my leg. Sometimes you cut your face and back to home and look at your family and look at your kids. Everybody looks at you and says, ‘Why do you do that?’ It’s a passion. You love your job, you keep doing it. My family respects my job and respect my dreams. That’s why I continue to fight.