“He set the blueprint to beat him,” Robert Whittaker credits former champion for gameplan in Israel Adesanya rematch ahead of UFC 271
Robert Whittaker-Israel Adesanya
Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will aim to claim what he thinks is his when he gets back against current champion Israel Adesanya at UFC 271 in Houston, Texas, USA on February 12, 2022. The fight card also includes women’s MMA legend Roxanne Modafferi competing in her 50th and final MMA bout after a career spanning almost 2 decades. In the co-main event, a title shot qualifier fight between UFC middleweights Derek Brunson and Jared Cannonier will take place.
Adesanya and Whittaker first fought each other back in October 2019 when the former knocked out the latter in the second round becoming the new middleweight champion and defending the title 3 times since against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori. Whittaker on the other hand proved himself being a title-fight worthy again, just like his old days when he went on a 3-fight winning streak himself after losing the title.
Robert Whittaker reveals the traits to beat Israel Adesanya ahead of rematch to beat him in UFC 271
In an interview with MMA Fighting‘s Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, Whittaker talked about the ideal way to beat Adesanya and revealed the name who gave him the idea of it. The name was none other than of the former UFC-lightheavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz, who defeated Adesanya back in 2021, when the latter wanted to pursuit a second division belt in his resume as well. The fight also ended Adesanya’s 20-fight win streak in overall MMA career.
“I think Yan set the blueprint to beat Izzy quite thoroughly,” said Whittaker. “If we’re looking at it, patience, striking and takedowns, when [there’s] opportunity, okay? Those three things are what someone leads you to beat Israel. You want to avoid getting hit by his big counter-strikes and his big levers. You take him down when you can to make him uncomfortable, to slow his arms and legs down and you’ve got to be patient because if you rush in, you get hit in the face.”
Whittaker also acknowledges that Jan had some preconceived advantages going into the fight like his knockout power and Adesanya’s increased weight that made the latter relatively slower. Do you agree with Whittaker’s assessment though? Do you think he will be able to practice what he is preaching going into the rematch? Or will it be a fourth successful title defence for Adesanya?