Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has his next opponent set.
Almost a month after he outlasted Yoel Romero in the main event of June 9’s UFC 225, it was revealed that “The Reaper” will coach the upcoming The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 28 opposite top contender Kelvin Gastelum during tonight’s (Fri., July 6, 2018) TUF 27 Finale from Paradise, Nevada.
Gastelum has won four of his last six fights, with his last win a closely-contested split decision over longtime veteran and former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the co-main event of May 12’s UFC 224 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He would have five wins in his last six fights if his TKO win over Vitor Belfort in March 2017 had not been overturned due to Gastelum testing positive for cannabinoids.
The lone blemish on his record in that span is a submission loss to former champion Chris Weidman last July. There was talk, especially from Whittaker’s manager, that Weidman would be the next challenger for the belt, but with Weidman out of action since beating Gastelum and also losing his prior three fights to his win over the TUF 17 champ, the title shot was given to the much more active fighter.
Whittaker has won his last nine fights in a row, earning a well-deserved reputation as not only one of the most dangerous strikers in the UFC, but also one of its most iron-chinned as well after he was rocked by Romero on numerous occasions only to survive and win on sheer pace and volume at UFC 225.
The two will face off later this year, but an official date and venue has not been announced.