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Published: 08:37 | 7/2/19

Gastelum wants first-round win

Kelvin Gastelum is predicting a first-round knockout when he meets Robert Whittaker for the middleweight title at UFC 234 in Australia on Saturday.

Gastelum knocked out Britain's Michael Bisping before enjoying a split decision win over Ronaldo Souza in his last two fights ahead of his first shot at the middleweight title.

Whittaker, meanwhile, has not lost in nine fights, including his defeat of Yoel Romero in 2018.

Despite his opponent's strong record, Gastelum is in bullish mood as he prepares for the bout inside the Rod Laver Arena.

"I'm expecting a hard, hard fight," Gastelum said. "But at the same time I am so prepared for this opportunity that I'm expecting it not to be close.

"I'm predicting a first-round knockout, but you never know. If I clip him, anybody - in the world, not just Rob - anybody is going down."

The co-main event sees former champion Anderson Silva take on Israel Adesanya.

Silva held the middleweight title between 2006 and 2013 but he has not fought since he defeated Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in February 2017 due to a one-year suspension for failing a drugs test, which was the result of a contaminated supplement.

At 43, he will need to be at his best against his undefeated opponent but the Brazilian insists age will not be a barrier to success.

"I never stop training. Every single day I try to make my mind better, my martial arts skills better and my personal life better," he said.

Adesanya, however, has warned Silva that he will out do him in front of the Melbourne crowd.

"I'm going to 'Anderson Silva' Anderson Silva," he said. "I've watched this guy for years, all his fights. I know him better than he knows himself."

Robert Whittaker takes on Kelvin Gastelum for the middleweight title at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday, 9 February live on BT Sport on the eir sport pack. Subscribe here

Getty Images/Hu Chengwei

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