UFC Fight Night 55 Fight Breakdown: Clint Hester vs. Robert Whittaker

Clint-Hester One of the main card bouts at UFC Fight Night 55 is a three-round middleweight bout between Clint Hester and Robert Whittaker. According to the current betting lines available at Several Bookmakers, Hester is a -185 favorite (bet $185 to win $100) while Whittaker is a +160 underdog (bet $100 to win $160). MMA oddsmaker Nick Kalikas opened up Hester at -150 and Whittaker at +110, and the bettors are so far favorite Hester to get the job done. I agree with the action on Hester as I believe he wins this fight. Here’s why. Hester (11-3) was a competitor on TUF 17, losing to Jimmy Quinlan by submission on the show. Since the competition of taping, however, Hester has improved a ton. He is so far 4-0 in the UFC with wins over Bristol Marunde, Dylan Andrews, Andy Enz and Antonio Braga Neto, and overall he is on a seven-fight win streak in professional MMA bouts. He is a huge middleweight, very strong for the weight class, and for a guy with as much muscle on his frame as he has, he has very good cardio. He has a lot of knockout power in all of his limbs, strong wrestling, and he is rapidly improving from fight to fight. He has been beating up on the middle-to-lower tier of the UFC middleweight division, but overall he has looked quite impressive and could be a dark horse at 185 if he continues to evolve. With a fifth-straight win at 185lbs over Whittaker, the UFC could give Hester a top-10 opponent his next time out, and I expect him to look better than ever when he fights in Australia this weekend against the hometown hero in Whittaker. Whittaker (12-4) won TUF Smashes and has since gone on to achieve a 3-2 record in the UFC with wins over Brad Scott, Colton Smith and Mike Rhodes and losses to Stephen Thompson and Court McGee. He is a very good striker with knockout power in his fists, and he is improving his takedown defence in every fight. At only 23 years of age, he has a bright future in the sport. He has fought all of his career thus far at 170lbs, but is making the move up to 185lbs, and I’m not sure why. He was pretty long at 170 and that was his best edge at that weight class, and at 185 I think he will lack the strength to compete with the bigger middleweights of the division like Hester, although I do think he will have a speed advantage. I’ve been high on Whittaker for a while, but even fighting at home for this matchup, I just think the move to middleweight is a mistake, and the betting public agrees as he enters this bout as the underdog. I would say that Whittaker is the more talented striker, but I’m not sure if he’s the more effective striker in this matchup. While Whittaker is a better technical striker, I think Hester has more raw power and I think he uses his tools more effectively in his fight. We’ve seen that he definitely has the ability to knock UFC-caliber fighters out, and Whittaker’s chin is a question mark. I don’t know why Whittaker moved to 170lbs, but I don’t think it’s a good move for him. I see Hester piling up the damage on the feet, taking Whittaker down, and ground and pounding him en route to a TKO win. It’s a weird matchup, which makes me somewhat hesitant to bet it, but at the same time I see multiple paths of victory for Hester here and think there could be some value at -185 for a bet.

Written by Adam Martin.

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