Robert Whittaker was presented with a main event fight live on FOX Sports 1 Saturday night at UFC Fight Night 101.
And “The Reaper” delivered.
The 25-year-old from New Zealand overcame an incredible start by Derek Brunson to delight the Melbourne, Australia crowd with a first round finish. For the former Ultimate Fighter: The Smashes winner, it marked a fifth consecutive win since moving up to middleweight from welterweight.
Whittaker, who holds black belts in Hapkido and Karate, along with a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, dug deep to take out Brunson. He didn’t necessarily use any of those incredible skills, he just showed heart.
After back-to-back losses to Court McGee and top welterweight contender Stephen Thompson, Whittaker likely saved his own career with a win over Mike Rhodes in home hometown of Auckland. After that, he moved up to middleweight and has done nothing but dominate.
He finished both Clint Hester and Brad Tavares, adding decision wins over Uriah Hall and Rafael Natal to his resume. Whittaker is a rock-solid 8-2 in the UFC and has finished four of those foes.
So why is no one talking about him?
Whittaker doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. People are talking and the middleweight division is definitely on notice for this one.