Robert Whittaker gets another shot at the UFC Middleweight Championship when he faces Israel Adesanya in a rematch at UFC 271.
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Adesanya returns after defending the title three times already since defeating Whittaker and claiming the title in 2019. Whittaker has also racked up three wins in that time to earn his second shot at the title.
The odds are in Adesanya’s favor this time with Whittaker set to enter as a moderate betting underdog. James Lynch asked UFC fighters for their Adesanya vs. Whittaker predictions before UFC 271 this weekend and here’s what they said.
Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 predictions
“Adesanya seems untouchable at this point, man. He seems untouchable. He’s like cleared the division out, but the person that I think would give him the most problems is Whittaker. I think Whittaker learned from his last one. I think his striking is on par with Adesanya, especially his karate movements, head kicks, and takedown defense.
“It’s going to be a stand-up war. But, uh, the counter striking of Adesanya is where Whittaker’s going to have his problems. I think that’s how I ended up defeating him as well, was just the counter-punching he had problems with. So I’m going to, I’m leaning towards Adesanya.”
“I think Izzy’s gonna take it again. I think Robert is such a hard match-up for everybody and because he’s so great at closing the distance, he’s super quick, but Adesanya has a little bit too much reach on him. It’s hard for him to get to him. So, stylistically it’s, tough for Rob in that one. So maybe it’s gonna be interesting to see if he incorporates some wrestling after the Blachowicz fight. I’ll give the edge to Izzy.”
“Robert Whittaker is really good. So, I don’t know. You know, he won the first time. So you have to give the edge to Israel Adesanya. Robert Whittaker is a tough individual, but if you get caught in a punch and you get knocked down, you know, toughness doesn’t matter.”
“It all depends on which Whitaker comes out. I think that of everyone in the division Whittaker is the only one who can beat Izzy. But Izzy’s, you know, he’s really good, man. He’s really good. He knows what he’s doing. If Rob uses his grappling, you know, not necessarily taking him down but you know, maybe wearing him down, putting up against the cage and beating him up from there, I think he’s got a better shot at beating Izzy than he did the first time.
“Plus the first, the first match, I think Rob was coming off a little bit of a layoff. So he wasn’t doing as much. It wasn’t as, as active. And then it was such a big fight, you know, especially with all those people there. I kind of think he got overwhelmed a little bit, but if you know, if you going to give me 500 bucks, I’m going to say, Izzy on this one.”
“Izzy, Israel. He’s too good, man. I really do think he’s got the best striking in the UFC. You know, he uses his length so well and his distance and his timing and, uh, yeah, man, a slip back counter — fight over again.”
“Whittaker’s last fights were awesome. You know what I mean? So, I mean, that might show growth, but, um, I don’t know how that’s going to translate with going against Adesanya who’s like long and lanky. You know what I mean? So, uh, we’ll see how that plays out. It might, it really might happen just like it did in the first fight or it depends on if Robert learned from his mistakes. You can capitalize on it, but right now I have Adesanya winning again.”
That’s a tough one too, just because, you know, Adesanya already beat Whittaker, and you know, he’s hungry. He’s come back from his loss and he’s gone on a good streak and maybe he’ll have to, uh, maybe he knows what he did wrong in that first fight so he’s definitely gonna change up the game plan and try to implement that.
“It’s tough though because again, we’re talking about a champion, so it’s kind of hard to go bet against those guys, and Adesanya’s so good. Um, so I would lean towards Adesanya cause he’s already beat him once and he is the champion. So, uh, yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna go with Adesanya.”
“Man. That’s another really good one. I think Whittaker, I think a different, Whittaker’s going to show up this time. I know people say like, how Whittaker said he was burnt out and this and that and fighters always have things that go on behind the scenes, like Izzy may have had an injury or sickness or anything going on before that fight but I think a Whitaker’s coming in now just, uh, a different fighter, which is really crazy, considering all the fights and all the battles he’s gone through and to see him still keep getting better each time is absolutely amazing. So yeah, I think Whittaker.”
Formerly the lead MMA Editor at RealSport.