Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya is set to defend his title in a highly anticipated rematch with Robert Whittaker this weekend at UFC 271. In their first fight at UFC 243, ‘The Last Stylebender’ knocked out ‘The Reaper’ in the second round to win the belt.
Since their first fight, Adesanya has defended his middleweight crown three times, against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori. He also fought Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title at UFC 258, but lost by unanimous decision. Whittaker has won three in a row since the loss, against Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum.
UFC 271 Predictions
Speaking to James Lynch, Jack Hermansson, Curtis Blaydes, Miles Johns, Sam Alvey, AJ Dobson, and Calvin Kattar gave their thoughts on Adesanya vs Whittaker 2.
Jack Hermansson: “I think that it’s going to be a lot tougher for Adesanya this time, but I still think that he’s gonna pull it off. It’s definitely gonna be a tough fight because I think Whittaker is probably gonna use a little bit more wrestling in this one.”
Curtis Blaydes: “I’m gonna go with Izzy again. They’re still both very good, I think everyone in that division is very good. I think Izzy’s just a little bit better. When he starts striking, he’s just so much better. He doesn’t have to think, because he’s able to turn off his brain when it comes to striking, he’s just that fluid. I think it goes a little longer this time because Rob obviously learned.”
Miles Johns: “I think Adesanya gets it done. They’ve already fought one time before, and I think he’ll be able to adapt to some of the things and get it done again.”
Sam Alvey: “I love both of them, I really do. I’m taking ‘Stylebender’ for the win, even though Whittaker has looked just about impenetrable the last few fights. [But] Adesanya has a way of finding that sweet spot. I love Whittaker, but I’m taking ‘Stylebender’.”
AJ Dobson: “As much as it hurts me, I think Izzy has Whittaker’s number. He’s the man right now. I just don’t see what Rob can do. I am sure he’s working on his grappling now after getting exposed.”
Calvin Kattar: “I’m excited about that fight. I’m sure Whittaker is gonna come back and adjust from that last fight and have a lot of momentum. I think he’s definitely going to show up this time, but Adesanya is a different breed of man. I would say Adesanya [will win].”
Who do you think will win the middleweight title rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker?