Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya believes that Robert Whittaker should move to light heavyweight for a career revival
It is a known fact that Robert Whittaker would’ve been the middleweight champion had it not been for Israel Adesanya. The ‘Last Stylebender’ is reigning supreme at the 185 lbs. division, wiping out every competition the company has presented him with. In doing so, he has also become the second highest-paid fighter behind UFC superstar Conor Mcgregor.
Adesanya captured the undisputed UFC middleweight championship from then-champion Robert Whittaker through a spectacular display of sublime striking. He knocked out ‘Bobby Knuckles’ in the second round, and has since then defended his belt four times.
His latest defense came against Robert Whittaker again, in a rematch that lasted the entire five rounds. Although it was a much closer fight, Whittaker failed to do any significant damage, and lost on the scorecards. The likelihood of a third match is far fetched, while Whittaker prepares to fight Marvin Vettori next.
Speaking about a third fight with Whittaker and sharing his views on the Aussie’s situation, Adesanya said, “Bobby [Robert Whittaker], he’s a great fighter. He’s a great fighter, I’ll give that to him. But I know how that book ends. I’ve read that book twice already. First time was a quick read, second time was a little bit longer, but I mean, he’s probably gonna be at the top for a while. But if we fight again, I know how that book ends so that’s why I’m excited about this next fight. Some new blood, someone I’ve never fought before.”
“I told you if he wants, he should go up to 205 [pounds] and see what that’s about. Maybe he can try that for a little bit, but yeah, I read that book already, and yeah, I don’t like reading the same book over and over again.”
The only way Whittaker could entice Adesanya for a third fight is by moving up in weight class and capturing the gold there. Adesanya would fancy his chances at the double champ status, having fallen short once in the past against Jan Blachowicz.
‘I can’t wait to drive through Alex Pereira’s face’- Israel Adesanya eyes a fight with former foe Alex Pereira after Jared Cannonier
Following the signing of Brazilian kickboxer Alex Pereira to the UFC, the narrative for a fight between him and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya seemed to be writing itself. The former number. 1 ranked kickboxer in the middleweight and light heavyweight division, Pereira’s style is the kryptonite to Adesanya’s unprecedented reign.
“Poatan” defeated Adesanya twice in kickboxing, winning a 2016 decision in China, and landed a left hook for a vicious, memorable knockout in their rematch, the following year in Brazil. Currently, with just one fight old in the UFC, Adesanya has dismissed talks of the fight in the near future, labelling it as ‘ a bit premature’. Adesanya even said in the past that his loss came because he got too comfortable in the boxing range, and he is a much more transformed fighter.
Brazilian kickboxing phenom, Alex Pereira encountered Adesanya twice in the kickboxing terrain, and emerged victorious twice. Pereira’s first encounter with Adesanya came in April 2016 at Glory of Heroes 1. ‘Poatan’ outperformed Adesanya to earn a unanimous decision victory after three rounds.
A year later, the competitors met again – at Glory of Heroes 15. The rematch proved to be a more decisive win for Pereira. After some initial success inside the boxing range for Adesanya, the ‘Stylebender’ fearlessly stepped inside Pereira’s range continually. Pereria landed a perfectly calculated left-hook, as soon as Adesanya moved inside range after landing the left high-kick, that knocked him out cold.
Memories of those losses, especially the knockout still runs fresh in Adesanya’s mind, as he looks to exact retribution, this time inside the UFC octagon. ‘Stylebender’ has a mammoth task in hand when he faces Jared Cannonier at UFC 276, while Alex Pereira is set to face Sean Strickland on the same card. The two will in most likely cross paths for the first time in years, and Adesanya has sized the Brazilian as his next opponent should the two get past their individual fights.
Speaking to the media alongside his teammates Alexander Volkanovski and Kai Kara France, Adesanya said, ‘“This TikTok generation has 15-second memory, so they forget,” Adesanya said. “All they see is the knockout, but they didn’t watch the first fight or even watch the second fight before the finish. This is not kickboxing, this is mixed martial arts, and these ain’t big pillow gloves. These are four-ounce deadly weapons, and I can’t wait to drive that through his face after I go through Jared Cannonier.”
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