One of the biggest stories coming out of UFC 236 on Saturday, April 13, was that the seemingly inevitable trans-Tasman showdown between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya is likely to arrive at Australian shores sooner than later this year.
Adesanya claimed the UFC Interim Middleweight Championship by defeating Kelvin Gastelum in a war that will be remembered as one of the best fights of the year. With the victory, Adesanya moved to 6-0 in the UFC since joining the promotion in February 2018. More importantly, however, was that the win sets up a highly-anticipated fight with current champion of the division, Robert Whittaker.
Whittaker is widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artists in the UFC today. Undefeated since 2014, Whittaker will step into his next fight with a nine-fight winning streak that most recently saw him win back-to-back fights against Yoel Romero.
Adesanya presents a unique challenge for the champion and fans have clearly been backing the challenger in this upcoming title fight. Israel Adesanya’s odds have shortened as much as 25 percent after opening at +160 (bet $100 to win $160). Adesanya can now be found at +120 with most bookmakers.
Whittaker shapes up as an incredibly tough test for the fast-rising Adesanya but has drifted in as a -140 betting favorite (bet $140 to win $100) despite opening at -185.
- Robert Whittaker: -140
- Israel Adesanya: +120
Although no official date has been set for the fight just yet, Whittaker recently suggested on a recent episode of Submission Radio that he wants to fight Adesanya in August because that’s when the UFC is supposedly returning to Sydney, Australia.
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.