Robert Whittaker made a name for himself at UFC Fight Night 101 in Melbourne, Australia last night.
The 25-year-old middleweight prospect proved to possess a number key attributes in the main event against Brunson. Heart, composure and knockout power were Whittaker’s keys to success, as the New Zealand-born fighter weathered Brunson’s early storm and fired back with his own barrage of strikes.
It was a head kick that sealed the deal, as ‘The Reaper’ caught Brunson flush on the chin and followed up with some ground and pound to earn the stoppage victory.
As of now, Whittaker is ranked as the No. 7 middleweight in the world but with his sixth straight win, The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes winner is sure to move up the rankings.
Whittaker has his sights set on the reinvented Gegard Mousasi, who has been on a tear in the 185 pound division and has won three of his last four fights via KO or TKO.
“He’s a top athlete, he’s a top fighter, and he’s a cool dude,” Whittaker said of Mousasi at the post-fight press conference, per Steven Marrocco and John Morgan of MMA Junkie. “If that’s a fight the UFC wants, that’s a fight they’ll get.”
The Australia-based talent looked to be in danger early on, as Brunson was relentless with his pursuit of the finish, but Whittaker says he kept his wits about him at all times.
“It’s funny, because I actually remember in the fight as I was backing away, I was thinking, does he think he rocked me? I wasn’t rocked,” Whittaker said. “I was still in it. A lot of people were critical of his game plan charging forward, but ask the last four dudes. He takes you out of it.”
His target, ‘The Dreamcatcher’, who is fresh off a first-round TKO of Uriah Hall, is ready to go. It’s likely that Whittaker vs. Mousasi will take place early next year.