It’s Official, The UFC Middleweight Champion,, Robert Whittaker, (20-4) will make his first official title defense against, Kelvin Gastelum(15-3), in familiar territory, Melbourne, Australia. Both fighters are currently coaching against each other on Season 28 of The Ultimate Fighter, however no particular date was confirmed on when these two fighters would be competing until ESPN reported the story and the promotion making the official announcement Tuesday morning.
Whittaker is coming off a hard fought split decision win over Yoel Romero, at UFC 225. This however, was not the first time these two fighters met, UFC 213, Whittaker won the Interim belt by defeating Romero by decision, and became the true champion of the middleweight division, once Georges St. Pierre defeated Michael Bisping at UFC 217, and vacated the belt. Although Whittaker was technically the campion of the division, his second fight with Romero did not count as a title bout due to Romero missing weight. This fight for Whittaker, is an opportunity to stabilize the middleweight division and prove why he is the true champion now and for the future.
Kelvin Gastelum has really found himself at the middleweight division, winning 3 out of his last 4 fights, with wins including, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and former middleweight champion, Michael Bisping. The win over Michael Bisping really put the whole middleweight division on notice and cemented himself as the next guy in line for the title shot. Although successful at welterweight, making 170 pounds consistently was a much bigger challenge for him. One thing for sure, Gastelum will be looking to shock the hometown’s Australian native, Robert Whittaker.