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UFC 243: Kelvin Gastelum picks Robert Whittaker to beat Israel Adesanya, rooting for ‘Stylebender’ anyway

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UFC Seasonal Press Conference Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, is expected to defend his 185-pound strap against interim division titleholder, Israel Adesanya, in the upcoming UFC 243 pay-per-view (PPV) main event this October in Melbourne.

Assuming “The Reaper” doesn’t pull out.

If the fight does proceed as planned, then top contender, Kelvin Gastelum, predicts Whittaker will unify the titles and send Adesanya to his first professional loss. That said, the former welterweight is still rooting for “The Last Stylebender.”

For selfish reasons, of course.

“It’ll be an interesting fight because Israel brings a whole different skill set,” Gastelum told the dashing and handsome Mathew Scott at South China Morning Post. “A whole variety of skills. But I think Rob has the right tools to beat him. I think he will win but selfishly I want Israel to win so I can take the title from him.”

Crazier things have happened.

Gastelum (15-4, 1 NC) fought Adesanya for the interim strap at UFC 236 back in April after Whittaker was rushed into emergency surgery. “The Last Stylebender” prevailed by way of unanimous decision and the No. 3-ranked contender is looking to avenge that loss.

Unfortunately for Gastelum, 27, the line is getting longer at 185 pounds. If Paulo Costa is able to stop Yoel Romero at UFC 241 next month in Anaheim, it’s widely believed “The Eraser” will earn a shot at the winner of Whittaker vs. Adesanya.

Time will tell.