UFC 271 is the most popular sporting event this weekend, with Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker clashing once again. Like the last time, the stake is the UFC middleweight title belt. Only the difference is that Adesanya holds the throne now, not the Reaper.
BetXchange brings the preview of this exciting matchup, the one that the majority of the UFC community has awaited ever since their previous meeting. The tension is very high, and we can just imagine what it would look like in the octagon.
Israel Adesanya is maybe the biggest star in the UFC right now. The Last Stylebender has only one defeat in his MMA career, but that was in the higher division, once he challenged Jan Blachowicz, the light heavyweight champ. All other events finished in his favor, mostly pretty convincing.
Izzy is coming off a unanimous decision win against Marvin Vettori, in a battle that didn’t fulfill the expectations. Adesanya was reserved and waited for his chance to strike from the counter-attacks, while Vettori didn’t manage to break the rival’s stance. That was his third title defense, after Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa. Apart from the one against the Brazilian, we haven’t seen Izzy delivering some flashy performance.
Though, the reason for that is tactics and his game plan. The Nigerian-born is always very careful, and he knows that the rivals have to attack him, rather than the other way around. That’s why he waits, sometimes more than the fans would like. His speed and reach allowed him to punish the opponents without any problems in those situations, and eventually, he became a champ.
Robert Whittaker was trashed in the first meeting with Adesanya, and he didn’t take that loss very well. He was away from the ring for eight months, trying to find his focus and recover. After returning, the Reaper had three fights, against Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
Lack of confidence following the loss of the title was obvious against Till, and we might say that Whittaker squeezed out a win in that event. However, later on, vs. Cannonier and Gastelum, we saw him in much better shape, confidently beating the rivals.
Kick-boxing is his basic skill, but we need to add that Whittaker also knows how to wrestle a little bit. His physique is different than Izzy’s and close fights or those on the mat are more suitable for the Australian.
Head to Head
The first meeting was at the UFC 243. Izzy was dictating the tempo all along, and had more strikes, and was overall better than Whittaker. He already floored him once after the first round, but the bell saved the champion at the time.
However, it didn’t save him on the next such occasion, as Izzy’s left counter sent the Reaper to the mat, setting up a perfect position for the Nigerian to take the belt. The KO came at 3:33 of the second round.
Adesanya vs Whittaker Prediction and Preview
Izzy is not confident or anything near, but he is still our favorite here. His reach will be a massive problem for Whittaker who, despite having a perfect technique, can’t hurt Izzy. Adesanya is on the next level, and we predict his easy win here.
Pick: Adesanya 0.34 at BetXchange