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Gastelum: Robert Whittaker tried to imitate me in loss to Israel Adesanya, but didn’t have the skills to pull it off

They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. It’s also the quickest way to get knocked clean out, especially if you try to replicate the skill and precision of top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight contender, Kelvin Gastelum.

That’s a lesson former 185-pound champion Robert Whittaker learned the hard way in his UFC 243 loss to Israel Adesanya. “The Reaper” tried — and failed — to mimic the success Gastelum had against “The Last Stylebender” at UFC 236 last April.

But don’t take my word for it.

“He didn’t look good. I think he tried to imitate or take some things from my fight, where he was lunging in and kind of moving in with his head,” Gastelum told MMA Fighting. “I just figured he tried to take some of the stuff from my fight and implement it, and it just didn’t end up going well. He didn’t have the right footwork, he didn’t have the right head movement, he didn’t have the right boxing approach, and it didn’t end up well for him.”

Whittaker was dropped at the end of the opening frame, then put away for good in the second stanza (highlights). Adesanya, meanwhile, appeared to have more success against “The Reaper” than he did against the more durable Gastelum.

Who was expected to fight Whittaker at UFC 234 before a late injury torpedoed their fight.

“I think it was rather disappointing the way that he performed,” Gastelum continued (transcribed by “The reason I say that is I feel like I was robbed of an opportunity, and for him to go out there and perform the way that he did, was rather disappointing for me. I think I would’ve dropped him like a sack of potatoes in February and he robbed me of that opportunity.”

Still just 27 years old, Gastelum (15-4, 1 NC) has a chance to get right back into the 185-pound title chase with a victory over Darren Till at the upcoming UFC 244 pay-per-view (PPV) event next month in New York.

For much more on that upcoming showdown click here.

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