Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC on ESPN 22: Whittaker vs. Gastelum, emanating from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The Octagon remains home in Las Vegas for another week of exciting fights, and a card headlined by a fight we were supposed to see in the past that never actually happened in what should be an intriguing fight.
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker looks to secure himself a chance at regaining that title when he takes on Kelvin Gastelum itn the main event. These two were supposed to fight at UFC 234 in February 2019, when Whittaker was the champion, but the fight was cancelled on the day of the show after Whittaker had to have emergency hernia surgery. After both went down separate paths, the opportunity to fight has now come full circle after Gastelum replaced Paulo Costa in this bout.
In the co-main event, Jeremy Stephens returns to the lightweight division looking to end a five-fight losing skid when he takes on Drakkar Klose. Also on the main card is a heavyweight battle between former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman, a middleweight slugfest between Abdul Razak Alhassan and Jacob Malkoun, and a lightweight fight pitting Luis Pena against Alex Munoz.
Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 7 PM eastern time with preliminary action all the way through the main card.
UPDATE: The lightweight bout between Jeremy Stephens and Drakkar Klose, which was scheduled to be the co-main event, has been cancelled just now due to a Klose suffering from a medical issue.
ESPN PRELIMS | 7 PM ET/4 PM PT
> Tony Gravely (20-6, 1-1 UFC) vs. Anthony Birchak (15-7, 2-3 UFC)
They trade to start the first. Gravely with a body kick. Birchak with a body kick then follows with a right hand. Birchak with a leg kick. Gravely lands a right hand. Birchak tries a takedown but Gravely defends and they clinch. Gravely with a takedown and then gets the back of Birchak. They get to their feet and Gravely has Birchak pushed against the fence and lands some body punches. They break and Gravely drops Birchak with a right hand and then gets on top and lands a punch. Gravely tries to get Birchak on his back but Birchak sweeps to the top and is in the half-guard and landing heavy elbows from the top. Gravely scrambles and Birchak gets a guillotine locked in and looking to finish but lets go. Gravely now reverses and is landing heavy punches looking to finish. Gravely now looking for an arm-triangle but lets go and starts landing more punches. Birchak survives and they get to their feet. Gravely gets a brief takedown but they stand. Gravely trips Birchak to the mat and has the back and lands some punches. Birchak escapes. Gravely tries a late takedown but Birchak sprawls and lands a knee as they stand. Wild round. 10-9 Gravely.
Gravely tries for a takedown against the fence and Birchak lands an elbow. He ends up getting a takedown but they work their way back up and separate. Gravely then lands a flush left hook that drops Birchak and after a couple of hammerfists it is stopped by referee Mark Smith. What a finish by Gravely in a fun fight.
Official Result- Tony Gravely def. Anthony Birchak by TKO (punches) at 1:31 of Round 2
> Austin Hubbard (12-5, 2-3 UFC) vs. Dakota Bush (8-2, 0-0 UFC)
Bush took this fight less than a week ago. Bush with the jab right away. They trade leg kicks. Bush lands a right hand and then a left hook. Bush with a leg kick. Bush with more calf kicks. Bush just misses a spinning back fist. Hubbard coming forward as he lands. They trade leg kicks. Bush landing with more output in the first half of the round. Bush with a body kick. Hubbard lands a kick and follows it with a left hook. Bush with a leg kick and then lands a right hand right as Hubbard pokes him in the eye and we have a timeout. They get back to action and both are landing in an exchange. Bush with a body kick. Hubbard with a body kick and then one to the thigh. Bush lands a right hand. Hubbard with a leg kick. They trade kicks. Hubbard with some kicks. Hubbard gets a takedown right before the end of the round. 10-9 Hubbard.
Bush lands a right hand. He lands another as Hubbard is coming forward. Bush tries a takedown but Hubbard defends against the fence. Bush working hard for the single leg and just misses an uppercut as they break. Bush with a side kick. Bush tries again for the takedown but Hubbard defends and pushes Bush down to the mat and is on top. Hubbard working in the half-guard and landing short punches then Bush gets him in his full guard. Hubbard landing from the top as he finishes the second on top and he's taken over the fight. 10-9 Hubbard, 20-18 Hubbard.
Hubbard definitely looks fresher to start the third as he lands punches and kicks to start the round. Bush lands a kick and Hubbard lands a counter left hand. Hubbard with a combo and just misses a knee as Bush looks for a takedown against the fence. Hubbard gets Bush to the ground and ends up in the mount against the fence. Hubbard applying pressure from the top as he lands some punches and short elbows. Bush scrambles and reverses and Hubbard looking for a triangle. Bush able to escape and stands and looks to get the back of Hubbard. Hubbard reverses and ends up in the guard of Bush. Hubbard with an elbow from the top. Bush tries to scramble out but time runs out as Hubbard gets in the mount at the end. 10-9 Hubbard, 30-27 Hubbard.
Official Result- Austin Hubbard def. Dakota Bush by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
> Bartosz Fabinski (15-4, 3-2 UFC) vs. Gerald Meerschaert (30-14, 6-6 UFC)
They quickly clinch up against the fence after Meerschaert lands a nice left hand. Meerschaert has Fabinski pressed against the fence and Fabinski lands a knee. They break and Fabinski gets a takedown but Meerschaert reverses and has a deep guillotine locked in. Fabinski goes out cold! What a finish by Meerschaert as he bounces back to end his losing skid.
Official Result- Gerald Meerschaert def. Bartosz Fabinski by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:00 of Round 1
> Jessica Penne (12-5, 1-3 UFC) vs. Lupita Godinez (5-0, 0-0 UFC)
Godinez is debuting on short notice here. Penne is fighting for the first time since 2017. Penne was trying to land the jab early. Godinez lands a left hook. They tie up and Penne looking to jump on top of Godinez. Godinez gets a takedown but they quickly stand. Godinez with a combo in close range. Penne lands a right hand. Penne with a combo and the clinch and she lands some knees. Penne lands a body kick and follows with a jab and a right hand. Godinez lands a right hand. Godinez picks Penne up and throws her to the mat but Godinez stays on her feet and lets Penne up. Godinez lands a right hand. She gets a takedown but Penne takes her back and is landing punches and looking to set up a choke. Godinez stands but Penne is up on her back against the fence. Godinez lands a couple of back elbows. Penne still chasing the choke late and they go to the mat as the round ends. Interesting round. 10-9 Godinez.
They trade before clinching up. Penne trying to get the back to jump up on her. Penne has wrist control but they break. They remain tied up as Penne is trying hard to get her back. Penne jumps up on Godinez' back. Penne lets go and is on her feet as they remain clinched against the fence, then they break. They trade jabs. Penne lands a right hand. Penne pushing forward as both are landing. Godinez lands a left hand and they clinch. Penne gets a takedown but Godinez scrambles up and they clinch against the fence to end the round. 10-9 Penne, 19-19.
They trade to start the third. They clinch and battle for underhooks. Godinez pressuring Penne against the fence but they separate. Penne coming forward but Godinez lands a couple of left hands. Penne rushes in looking for a takedown as they clinch and she has the underhooks. Godinez reverses position. Penne jumps up trying to pull guard but Godinez just throws her off and Penne gets to her feet. Penne tries a takedown but Godinez lands a knee and then Godinez throws her away. Penne gets up and comes forward with a couple of right hands. Penne still trying for a takedown but Godinez defending. They are clinched against the fence. Penne jumps up and Godinez is holding onto her. Penne gets back on her feet as the fight ends. 10-9 Godinez, 29-28 Godinez.
Official Result- Jessica Penne def. Lupita Godinez by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
> Alexandr Romanov (13-0, 2-0 UFC) vs. Juan Espino (10-1, 2-0 UFC)
They trade leg kicks. Romanov gets a takedown and is in the side half-guard. Romanov has the body lock and is in side control and lands a couple of knees. They are clinched against the fence. They break but they clinch right back up. Romanov with a big knee. Espino gets a big takedown and is in side control. Romanov looking for a kimura from the bottom as Espino lands some body punches. Espino moves to the mount. They power their way to their feet. Espino has the back and drags Romanov down but they stand. They clinch at the end and Espino lands a right hand after they break before the horn. 10-9 Espino.
Romanov swinging and lands a body kick. They trade low kicks. They clinch and Espino lands a left hand on the break. They trade and Romanov lands a nice right hand before they clinch. Espino lands a jumping knee as they're clnched. They go to the mat and Romanov is in the guard of Espino. Romanov with some punches from the top. Romanov with big punches from the top as Espino tries to defend. Espino pulls him back into the closed guard. Romanov in side control and lands some heavy right hands. Romanov with a big knee to the butt of Espino. They scramble up and both looking for a takedown. They break and Romanov lands some punches and is looking for the takedown. 10-9 Romanov, 19-19.
Espino just misses a looping right hand and they clinch. Espino gets a takedown but they quickly stand. Espino drags him back down. They get back up and are clinched and we have a low blow and a timeout. Romanov is down for a long time and unable to continue and the fight is waved off. The judges are going to score the third based on what has happened, but I'm not going to score it here.
Official Result- Alexandr Romanov def. Juan Espino by technical split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
ESPN MAIN CARD | 10 PM ET/7 PM PT
> Luis Pena (8-3, 4-3 UFC) vs. Alex Munoz (6-1, 0-1 UFC)
Both were landing early in the first as Pena was pressuring. Munoz gets a takedown and is holding onto the body lock as they stand. Pena defending the body lock against the fence. They break and Pena pushing forward and lands a body kick. Munoz lands a combo. Munoz with a calf kick and then another and then a left hand. Munoz with another calf kick and Pena lands a left hand. Pena with a big knee as Munoz grabs the body lock. They break. Munoz with a right hook. They exchange punches. Munoz lands some and then Pena lands a combo ending with a head kick. Munoz with a big right hand. Pena just misses a head kick. 10-9 Munoz.
Munoz with a heavy calf kick. Munoz with another leg kick. Pena lands a flush left hand. Pena with a right hook. Pena with a right hook to the body. Pena landing more punches early in the second. Pena just misses a head kick but then lands a grazing knee to the head. Pena with a left hand. Munoz lands a combo that wobbles Pena. Munoz gets a brief takedown but they scramble. Munoz gets a big takedown. They get back up and Munoz has the back. They break to the center. They trade kicks and Pena lands a right hand. They trade jabs. Pena with a combo ending with a head kick. They trade in close range. They trade kicks. Munoz with a heavy calf kick. Munoz lands a nice right hook. They trade late. 10-9 Munoz, 20-18 Munoz.
They trade leg kicks to start the third. Munoz lands a combo. Munoz with a calf kick. Pena with a jab. They trade punches. Munoz with a leg kick and Pena lands a flying knee. They continue to trade and Munoz gets a brief takedown but they get right back up. Pena with more volume in the third as he continues to land. Pena with a knee and leg kick and Munoz grabs him but they break. Pena with heavy punches and Munoz trying to stall everything with the clinch. Pena with a knee and they break. Munoz with a combo. Pena with a triple jab and then lands a left hand. This goes the distance. 10-9 Pena, 29-28 Munoz.
Official Result- Luis Pena def. Alex Munoz by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
> Tracy Cortez (8-1, 2-0 UFC) vs. Justine Kish (7-3, 3-3 UFC)
Women's Flyweights* (Cortez missed weight by .25 pounds)
Kish coming forward and landing punches and they clinch. Kish has the body lock and is looking for a takedown. Cortez gets a takedown and is working in the guard of Kish. Cortez with some big punches from the top. Cortez still working from the top and then gets the back of Kish and trying to get the hooks in as Kish controls her arm. Cortez has full back control as the round ends. 10-9 Cortez.
Kish lands a nice right hand to start the second. They trade in close range. Cortez with a leg kick and Kish lands a combo. Cortez tries a takedown but eats an elbow from Kish as they break. Cortez gets a takedown and had the back for a moment but they got up. They trade and Kish lands a right hand. They trade leg kicks and Cortez had more pop on hers'. They trade kicks again. Kish lands a right hand. Cortez with a body kick. Kish lands a right hand and then one to the body. Kish with more leg kicks late. 10-9 Kish, 19-19.
Cortez lands a right hand. They trade punches. Cortez gets a takedown and lands some from the top. She gets the back and lands some heavy punches. Kish trying to grab the arm and Cortez grabs the neck and looks for the guillotine and has the neck as they stand but they break. Kish lands a big right hook that drops Cortez for a brief second and she retreats. Kish grabs her but lets go. Cortez lands an uppercut. Cortez with a body kick as Kish lands a right hand. They clinch and Kish lands a right hand as they break. Kish with a right hand. Close fight. 10-9 Cortez, 29-28 Cortez.
Official Result- Tracy Cortez def. Justine Kish by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
> Abdul Razak Alhassan (10-3, 4-3 UFC) vs. Jacob Malkoun (4-1, 0-1 UFC)
Alhassan throwing kicks early. Malkoun gets a takedown. Malkoun looking for a front choke and they stand. Alhassan with some big elbows. They break the clinch. Malkoun trying a takedown but Alhassan defends. Alhassan lands a left hook. Malkoun looking for another takedown but Alhassan defending. Malkoun gets him down for a second. Malkoun gets him back down but they stand. Malkoun gets him back down. Malkoun lands a couple of left hands. They get back to their feet. Malkoun drags it back down and lands a couple of left hands. They stand and break. Alhassan with a body kick then another. Alhassan with a left hand and a body kick. Alhassan with another body kick and then another. 10-9 Malkoun.
Alhassan with a leg kick after Malkoun lands the jab. Malkoun gets a takedown. They get up and Malkoun gets a big slam takedown. Alhassan looking for a guillotine but lets go. Malkoun landing from the top. Malkoun looks for a guillotine but Alhassan escapes. Malkoun in side control. Malkoun looking for the guillotine again but Alhassan gets out. Malkoun looks for a D'Arce choke but Alhassan gets out. They get to their feet and Alhassan tries to break but Malkoun pushes him against the fence. They break. Alhassan with a high kick. Alhassan with a couple of body kicks. Malkoun with a right hand and looks for a takedown. 10-9 Malkoun, 20-18 Malkoun.
Malkoun with a leg kick. Malkoun lands a combo. Malkoun tries for a takedown but Alhassan defending and they break. Malkoun still going for the takedown and gets it. Malkoun in the half-guard. Malkoun with short elbows. They get to their feet and break. Malkoun with a combo and looks for a takedown against the fence but Alhassan defends. They break. Malkoun gets a trip takedown and is in the guard of Alhassan. Malkoun keeping Alhassan on the mat. They get up and break and Alhassan tries a late flurry but time runs out. 10-9 Malkoun, 30-27 Malkoun.
Official Result- Jacob Malkoun def. Abdul Razak Alhassan by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
> Andrei Arlovski (30-20 2 NC, 19-14 1 NC UFC) vs. Chase Sherman (15-6, 3-5 UFC)
Sherman lands a left hand right on the chin and Arlovski eats it. Sherman with a leg kick. They trade in close range. Arlovski lands a combo. Arlovski lands a left hand. Arlovski lands another left hand. Sherman with a counter left hook. Arlovski with a leg kick. Sherman with a leg kick. Sherman with a combo. Arlovski with a leg kick. They trade in close range. Sherman lands a big right hand and is throwing a flurry that has Arlovski hurt. Arlovski grabs Sherman and they break. Arlovski with a leg kick. They trade late. 10-9 Sherman.
Arlovski lands a right hand and then works the jab in. Sherman lands a left hand. Sherman with another combo. Arlovski with the jab. Sherman with a body kick. They trade jabs. Arlovski with a combo. They trade in close range. Both just miss big right hands. Arlovski lands a jab. Arlovski with a combo. They trade in close range. Both are landing and Arlovski is doing damage to the legs of Sherman with kicks. 10-9 Arlovski, 19-19.
They're swinging for the fences early on. Arlovski with some leg kicks and they exchange in close range. Sherman lands a low blow and we have a timeout. Back to action and both are throwing. They trade leg kicks. Arlovski with a body kick and then a leg kick and then a combo, and Sherman lands some counters. Arlovski with a right hand that wobbles Sherman. Arlovski with a combo. Arlovski with the double jab. They trade punches in the pocket. Arlovski with a combo. Sherman with a combo and a body punch. 10-9 Arlovksi, 29-28 Arlovski.
Official Result- Andrei Arlovski def. Chase Sherman by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
> Robert Whittaker (#1, 22-5, 13-3 UFC) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (#8, 16-6 1 NC, 11-6 1 NC UFC)
They trade leg kicks and Whittaker lands a right hand. Gastelum with a nice leg kick. Whittaker landing better with the punches early on. They trade in close range. Whittaker lands a left hand and rocks Gastelum with a head kick. Gastelum lands a left hand. Gastelum lands a punch and Whittaker gets a takedown. Whittaker working from the top and landing short punches and Gastelum is stuck on the bottom. Whittaker gets the back and they stand and Whittaker with a high kick. 10-9 Whittaker.
They trade left hands right away to start the second. Gastelum shoots for a takedown but Whittaker defends. Gastelum with a left hand. They trade punches in close range. They tie up and Whittaker with a takedown and has the back for a moment and lands left hands as they stand. Gastelum with a left hand. Whittaker with a head kick. They trade punches. Whittaker with a right hand. Gastelum with a combo. They trade leg kicks. Whittaker with a left hand and then another. Whittaker landing combos. Whittaker with the double jab. Whittaker teeing off with the left hand. 10-9 Whittaker, 20-18 Whittaker.
They trade punches and then trade leg kicks. Gastelum with a quick combo then we have a kick to the groin and now a timeout. Back to action and Whittaker with a high kick. Gastelum lands a flurry and Whittaker has to retreat. Whittaker with a right hand. Whittaker with a combo. Whittaker with a leg kick. Gastelum tries to land as he comes forward but Whittaker circles away. Whittaker with a combo. Whittaker with a leg kick. Whittaker with a right hand. Whittaker with a heavy leg kick. Whittaker with a high kick. Whittaker lands a right hand. Whittaker with a combo. 10-9 Whittaker, 30-27 Whittaker.
Whittaker with a body kick then a combo. Whittaker with a leg kick. They trade and Whittaker controlling the Octagon. Whittaker with a high kick. Gastelum lands the jab and Whittaker is bleeding a little. Whittaker with a body kick and then lands a jab. Whittaker with a right hand. Gastelum gets a brief takedown but Whittaker quickly gets up and lands some punches. 10-9 Whittaker, 40-36 Whittaker.
Whittaker with some quick leg kicks and Gastelum firing away with punches. They clinch and Gastelum pushes Whittaker against the fence. They are both throwing and circling. Whittaker with a left hook. Whittaker with a combo and Gastelum lands a counter right hand. Whittaker gets a takedown and is working in the half-guard of Gastelum. Whittaker looking to set up an arm-triangle choke. He lets go and lands some punches and then grabs the back and they scramble to their feet. Whittaker still has back control on the feet. Whittaker ends the fight in the position. An outstanding performance from Whittaker. 10-9 Whittaker, 50-45 Whittaker.
Official Result- Robert Whittaker def. Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)