Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker helms the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) pay-per-view (PPV) event of 2019 in friendly territory this Saturday (Feb. 9, 2019), defending his title against Kelvin Gastelum inside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. Rising star Israel Adesanya squares off with the legendary Anderson Silva in UFC 234’s co-main event, while the PPV main card also features Ricky Simon looking for his third consecutive UFC victory against Rani Yahya and Aussie starlet Nadia Kassem facing The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) veteran Montana De La Rosa.
We’ve started 2019 strong, nearly doubling the initial investment in just two events. Let’s see how far we can ride this wave:
What Went Wrong at UFC ‘Fortaleza?’
Misplaced faith in Justin Ledet notwithstanding, we came out well ahead, even with a scare from Livia Renata Souza. Thankfully, the wonky judging didn’t foul up anything.
UFC 234 Odds For The Undercard:
Devonte Smith (-240) vs. Dong Hyun Ma (+200)
Shane Young (-310) vs. Austin Arnett (+255)
Kai Kara-France (-310) vs. Raulian Paiva (+255)
Kyung Ho Kang (-450) vs. Teruto Ishihara (+360)
Lando Vannata (-380) vs. Marcos Mariano (+315)
Jalin Turner (-260) vs. Callan Potter (+220)
Jonathan Martinez (-175) vs. Wuliji Buren (+155)
You know the matchmaking is good when there’s only one underdog below +200. There is some value to be found in these mismatches, though, in the form of Jalin Turner.
“The Tarantula” got knocked into next week by Vicente Luque, but this time he’s the one getting fed a late-notice victim. Callan Potter, while a capable grappler, is ludicrously outgunned on the feet and has been stopped in all seven of his professional losses. Potter’s too chinny and too easy to hit to survive against a puncher of Turner’s caliber.
Parlaying him together with Devonte Smith offers near-even odds. Ma is entertaining, but has yet to beat a current member of UFC’s roster and gets sucked into brawls far too easily.
UFC 234 Odds For The Main Card:
Robert Whittaker (-250) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (+210)
Israel Adesanya (-670) vs. Anderson Silva (+485)
Ricky Simon (-125) vs. Rani Yahya (+105)
Montana De La Rosa (-265) vs. Nadia Kassem (+225)
Jim Crute (-140) vs. Sam Alvey (+120)
Not seeing anything here, to be honest. Maybe a small smidge on Simon — Yahya constantly surprises and impresses me, but his gas tank is a liability and Simon has some strong wrestling of his own. I believe the younger man can survive the early Yahya backpack and tear him to pieces late the way Joe Soto did.
UFC 234 Best Bets:
- Single bet — Devonte Smith and Jalin Turner: $52 to make $50
- Single bet — Ricky Simon: $50 to make $40
UFC 234 features a flat-out amazing main event makes up for some iffy matchmaking further down the list ... at least in my book. See you Saturday, Maniacs.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 234 fight card on fight night, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 234: “Whittaker vs. Gastelum” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.