Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker
The UFC 271 witnessed a rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker in an electrifying atmosphere in Houston’s Toyota Center. Although Adesanya faced an improved version of Whittaker, the outcome replicated their 2019 encounter.
Whittaker approached the fight cautiously and didn’t allow Adesanya to close in for a knockout blow. Both players used the octagon with good effect, and the exhausting back-and-forth battle lasted till the last round. However, Adesanya overcame his challenger with a unanimous decision to seal his fourth title defense.
With two victories over Whittaker, the reigning middleweight champion moved to a 22-1 career score. The highly-anticipated match didn’t fail to impress fans, as the Toyota Center buzzed with excitement.
How did the UFC 271 Main Event progress?
Adesanya relied on consistent calf kicks while switching stances to take his challenger by surprise. However, Whittaker defused Adesanya’s attempt and didn’t repeat the mistakes from his previous match, where he started aggressively.
“The Last Stylebender” used the octagon to good effect and constantly switched stances to keep Whittaker off balance. Although Whittaker didn’t allow Adesanya to overpower, the middleweight champion landed a stiff left hand in the latter part of the first round. “The Reaper” lost balance momentarily but quickly recovered, preventing Adesanya from causing more damage.
Whittaker shifted his gears and started to trouble his opponent with takedown attempts. However, Adesanya defused Whittaker’s effort and relied on his punches to earn another knockout. Adesanya’s combination of punches and stances was the first round’s highlights.
Whittaker threw more volume in his attack in the second round. However, Adesanya’s superior reach controlled the distance and landed brutal leg kicks on his challenger. Adesanya almost defeated Whittaker, but “The Reaper” managed to survive the middleweight champion’s onslaught.
Whittaker changed his game plan and exploded forward, taking down the defender. However, Adesanya scrambled out and defused Whittaker’s attempt to overpower him on the canvas. Adesanya continued to trouble Whittaker with his punches and kicks while using the octagon to good effect.
As the match entered the third round, Whittaker began to find success with his revised game plan. He landed a hard left hand on Adesanya and combined his fighting techniques to land crucial punches while leaping forward. However, none of his blows bothered Adesanya as he dominated the proceedings.
The defender continued his dominance and fired back as Whittaker leaped forward. The exchange resulted in Whittaker receiving a hard left hand that popped him momentarily. Whittaker couldn’t get a clear chance to take his opponent down as Adesanya continued to fire back with the same aggression and power.
Although Whittaker couldn’t execute a successful takedown, he got the middleweight champion on his heels. These attempts forced Adesanya to play defensively, preventing him from unleashing his power and best strikes. Whittaker’s determination was evident inside the octagon, but his efforts couldn’t sway the judges to decide the match in his favor.
The final five minutes
Adesanya continued to be the aggressor in the final round with a string of punches and leg kicks. However, he couldn’t find a lethal combination to repeat his 2019 performance and only managed to keep Whittaker at bay.
On the other hand, Whittaker employed his wrestling abilities to counter an attacking Adesanya. However, the UFC middleweight champion defused all takedown attempts with quick adjustments and agility.
It was an epic battle between two of the best middleweight fighters in the world. Although the judges announced Adesanya as the winner with a unanimous decision, Whittaker prevented a knockout and gave a tough fight to the reigning UFC middleweight champion.
The final scores were 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47, as Israel Adesanya defended his title against Robert Whittaker. The UFC middleweight champion moves to 22-1 while Whittaker moves to 24-6 with this loss. The loss also ended Whittaker’s three-match winning streak.
Adesanya vs. Whittaker: How did both fighters feel after the match?
Although Whittaker couldn’t continue his winning streak, he expressed satisfaction with his performance. The Aussie middleweight fighter believed that he played an excellent rematch and congratulated Adesanya for defeating him the second time. Whittaker further added that both Adesanya and he were the best middleweight fighters globally, and everyone knows it.
However, the judges deciding the match against him surprised Whittaker, saying that the result would not impact his performance and reputation. Although Whittaker had a rocky start, he felt he owned every round after the first round. He was happy with his performance and thanked his fans for supporting him throughout the match.
On the other hand, Adesanya was happy with his title defense and appreciated Whittaker’s efforts during the match. He felt that Whittaker tried to copy Blachowicz’s tactics, but his agility and superior footwork helped him edge past his opponent.
Adesanya added that Whittaker returned strong from his previous defeat and gave 100% during the fight. However, he ended saying he was the champion and challengers would have to fight him to win his middleweight title.
Other UFC 271 results
In the main co-event of UFC 271, Tai Tuivasa defeated Derrick Lewis with a knockout in the second round. Tuivasa picked up his career’s biggest win as he landed a crushing elbow strike that sent his opponent down on the canvas.
Meanwhile, Jared Cannonier defeated Derek Brunson via knockout round and registered his 15th win in the second.
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