Israel Adesanya won’t take Kelvin Gastelum lightly when they meet in the cage this weekend for the interim middleweight championship.
The middleweight pair is slated to co-headline the UFC 236 pay-per-view event on Saturday at the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.
Both fighters are riding on a winning streak of their own.
The rising Kiwi star has been undefeated in five outings, with his most recent win coming at the expense of MMA legend, Anderson Silva.
Gastelum, meanwhile, has won two straight since losing to Chris Weidman. He was scheduled to headline UFC 234 opposite Robbert Whittaker, but the fight was scrapped after the Australian champ pulled out on short notice.
Whittaker’s injury set the stage for the Adesanya and Gastelum bout. The winner will face the reigning champion for the undisputed title.
Ahead of this exciting clash, “The Last Stylebender” weighed in on his opponent and admitted that he doesn’t see any sign of Gastelum getting intimidated.
— Sports Talk (@SportsFanPost) April 9, 2019
In an interview with the media after Wednesday’s open workout, Adesanya said that Gastelum is different from his previous opponents as he doesn’t see any fear on his eyes. (Quotes from MMA Junkie)
“Kelvin’s not scared; he’s dangerous.”
“That’s what excites me about him. Mexicans are known for their warrior spirit. He’s going Mexican style of MMA. I’m looking to put him on the stake, as well.”
Though the 27-year old American looks to be a tough nut to crack, the Kiwi fighter said his fight against Silva remains to be the toughest to date.
“To the younger me, (Silva) was the pinnacle of the sport. ”
“So when I beat him, that was like, (expletive), I’m the best in the world. I already knew it, but I had to prove it to myself. So now, everything else is easy.”
Adesanya then vowed to dictate the pace in their fight and assured that his game would control Gastelum.
“It’s all about me and how I move in this fight.”
“It’s not really about him. He can do what he wants to do, but I’m going to make him do what I want to do.”
Oddsmakers see the “Last Stylebender” as the (-180) favourite to win the Saturday’s co-main event.
But do not count Gastelum out just yet as he also has the skill sets to win this chess match.
Who do you think will between Adesanya and Gastelum? This is going to be a tight contest and expect it to go the distance.
Two titles are up for grabs! Where will you be for @ufc 236?! The correct answer is State Farm Arena!
— State Farm Arena (@StateFarmArena) April 10, 2019
Check out the full line up for the UFC 236 Fight Card courtesy of MMA Fighting:
Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway – TITLE FIGHT
Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum – TITLE FIGHT
Eryk Anders vs. Khalil Rountree
Alan Jouban vs. Dwight Grant
Ovince Saint Preux vs. Nikita Krylov
Jalin Turner vs. Matt Frevola
Wilson Reis vs. Alexandre Pantoja
Max Griffin vs. Zelim Imadaev
Boston Salmon vs. Khalid Taha
Curtis Millender vs. Belal Muhammad
Montel Jackson vs. Andre Soukhamthath
Poliana Botelho vs. Lauren Mueller
Brandon Davis vs. Randy Costa
(Featured Image Source: YouTube/The MMA Hour and Instagram/Kelvin Gastelum)