Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Whittaker Feels Sense Of Mutual Respect & Common Goal With Adesanya

Heading into their rematch at UFC 271, Robert Whittaker is in a different headspace than he was two years ago.

“Bobby Knuckles” Whittaker has his chance at redemption this Saturday in a rematch against UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. When they last headlined at UFC 243, there was a lot of commotion going into the fight.

The event took place in Australia, Whittaker’s native home, which fueled a rivalry with his New Zealander opponent. It’s a sigh of relief for Whittaker to not deal with the pressure of home court again, as this fight will take place in Houston, Texas.

Bad blood weighed heavy in their last battle. This time, it is strictly a moment to prove who is the better fighter. Whittaker claims to know Adesanya’s game and can prove “The Last Style Bender” is “beatable”.

Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya
Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, Photo Credit: Michael Dodge/EPA

He will enter battle with the championship on his mind and his ego in check. Pre-fight tension carried a lot of weight in their first match, but Whittaker is not falling for any media traps this second go-around.

“This one is completely different. I feel there’s an underlying sense of mutual respect. We’re both the best in the game. He’s the champ and I’m #1, and we’ve ran through everybody else. I think there’s a certain level of mutual respect that comes from that.

“I think the fact that the New Zealand/Australia rivalry isn’t so much getting thrown at everybody’s faces here; understanding that this is Australia and New Zealand taking over the world sort of thing. In saying that, we’re not mates. Far from it. But I just don’t think because we’re in Houston and the media is not angling that rivalry, the fight isn’t personal,” Whittaker explained to Submission Radio.

Whittaker took home three impressive victories to get back to Adesanya after their 2019 bout. He learned from his “reckless” mistakes in the first encounter and plans to turn things around in the rematch.

In comparison, since UFC 243, Adesanya defended his belt three times and took home one lost to Jan Blachowicz in a bout for the light heavyweight title.

Both fighters simply want to win. They have devastated the competition as champion and #1 contender to make it back to this point. Of course, “Izzy” wants to keep his belt, and Whittaker never wanted it taken from him. And on February 12, Whittaker will look to seize his opportunity to even the score with Adesanya and reclaim the middleweight crown.

Do you think Robert Whittaker will once again become Middleweight Champion at UFC 271?

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