Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will face Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday at the premises of the Apex promotion in Las Vegas.
Whittaker (22-5) has won 11 of his last 12 fights, the only loss coming on the night of 2019, when Israel Adesanya won their title by knockout. In his most recent fight, in October, Whittaker defeated Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision. Whittaker is No. 2 in the ESPN middleweight rankings.
The UFC is set to return to live events with full crowds, but before reaching UFC 261, a Fight Night card at UFC Apex features a main event with big implications all of its own, as Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum face off against a shot at middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC) comes off a unanimous decision victory over Ian Heinisch in February, which ended a three-game losing streak. That slippage began with a 2019 loss to Adesanya in an interim title fight.
You can watch the entire UFC Fight Night event exclusively on ESPN +, which requires a subscription.
UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Gastelum
Start time: The main card starts at 10 p.m. EST | Preliminary: 7 p.m. EST
TV channel / program: ESPN – The event will air on ESPN and can be streamed via ESPN + in the USA
Direct: ESPN +
what ESPN + – ESPN + does not replace a normal ESPN subscription through your cable provider. Instead, it’s an ancillary service that provides original content and live sports. It also allows customers to access exclusive content on ESPN.com and access to pay-per-view MMA events.
UFC Fight Night Card: Complete Fights List
Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum | Average weight
Jeremy Stephens vs. Drakkar Klose} Léger
Andrei Arlovski vs. Chase Sherman | Heavy weights
Abdul Razak Alhassan vs. Jacob Malkoun | Average weight
Luis Peña vs. Alexander Muñoz | Lightweight
Tracy Cortez vs. Justine Kish | Flyweight for women
Alexander Romanov vs. Juan Espino | Heavy weights
Jessica Penne vs. Lupita Godinez | Straw weight
Gerald Meerschaert v Bartosz Fabiński | Average weight
Austin Hubbard vs. Dakota Bush | lightweight
Zarah Fairn vs. Josiane Nunes | Women’s bantamweight
Tony Gravely vs. Anthony Birchak | Men’s bantamweight
More coverage via The Associated Press
The UFC intends to host a capacity crowd at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on July 10 when Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor fight for the third time.
UFC President Dana White on Wednesday announced his plan for the promotion’s first sold-out show in his hometown since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m so happy to finally be able to say Vegas is back,” White said.
The world’s largest mixed martial arts organization has not fought in front of more than a few dozen fans in Las Vegas since the start of the pandemic. For the past 11 months, the UFC has held its quasi-weekly shows at its empty gym on its corporate campus in Vegas or on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, where limited crowds were allowed in January.
Earlier this week, Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said the state aims to lift the majority of its restrictions on COVID-19 over the next few weeks with the goal of fully reopening by June 1.
White has said the UFC will no longer fight in front of fans until the promotion can have full capacity crowds in the stands, and that move will happen soon. The next two UFC pay-per-view shows will be held in front of packed arenas in Florida and Texas.
UFC 261 in Jacksonville on April 24 will be the promotion’s first show in front of a full crowd since March 2020. The card is highlighted by three title fights, including welterweight champion Kamaru Usman’s rematch with Jorge Masvidal.
The promotion will likely continue to host their smaller weekly shows at UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker fights Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of the next Apex show on Saturday night.
UFC 264 will be featured by the completion of the trilogy for Poirier and McGregor, MMA’s most popular fighter. McGregor won his first meeting in 2014, but Poirier stopped McGregor in the second round of UFC 257 in January.