Israel Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman is expecting “a little bit less panic and a little bit more respect” from Robert Whittaker during this weekend’s UFC Middleweight Championship rematch.
Adesanya and Whittaker are set to face off for the second time when they meet at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, this Saturday night at UFC 271. Fans can watch Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 and the entire UFC 271 fight card live on PPV by ordering here.
It was Adesanya who left victorious at UFC 243 in October 2019 after he knocked out Whittaker with a counter left hook in the second round. But Whittaker has had time to learn, adapt, and improve his overall skillset before stepping back into the Octagon with Adesanya at UFC 271 on Saturday night.
Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman has been preparing the champion for a more calculated opponent this time.
“I think they have a very smart team, these guys,” Bareman told Submission Radio. “I studied them extensively for the first fight, and I quickly figured out that they’re an elite team, they’re a very smart team. They know they cannot transpose what Jan did to Israel. There’s little things you can take, but at the end of the day, you got to work with the athlete that you’ve got in front of you. And they understand that they don’t have a Jan in front of them. So, they’re too smart to do that. But yeah, I expect a little bit less panic and a little bit more respect from Robert. I expect him not to be so aggressive this time. That’s the only thing I can kind of take a good calculated guess at.”
Adesanya’s career seems to be trending similarly to Kamaru Usman’s in the UFC in the sense that what lays ahead are rematches with top contenders. After recently beating Marvin Vettori in a rematch from 2018, Adesanya now has to face Whittaker for the second time. Bareman spoke of the importance of not becoming complacent after a dominant victory like the champion enjoyed against Whittaker last time.
“When you win in that fashion, yeah, that little complacency kind of devil that sits on your shoulder, you’re hyper-aware of it,” Bareman said. “So, you really want to not fall victim to it. You kind of almost like push things to the absolute limit because you’ve kind of got that thing on your conscience all the time. So, in terms of like motivating him to kind of get up for this fight and train hard, it hasn’t been too difficult. We’ve really emphasized that Robert has more to give, that Robert has more to give, but we haven’t forgotten that Israel had a whole lot more to give as well. So, as Robert gives more, Israel also has much more stuff to give in the fight. So, this fight will be a bit more interesting.”
You can order the UFC 271 PPV on ESPN+ here to watch Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 and the entire fight card live this Saturday, January 12 in the United States.
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.