The top of the UFC 271 billing was the setting where the promotion’s middleweight king, Israel Adesanya, successfully defended his crown with a unanimous decision over the man he took the belt from, Robert Whittaker. Izzy scored a first-round knockdown, and then he had to fight off several takedown advances from there on out. With Adesanya starting to lap the division, perhaps a match with Jared Cannonier, who won impressively tonight, is up next?
The fighters came out exchanging leg kicks, trying to get their range and timing. Whittaker started searching for the takedown, but Adesanya was defending well and remained on his feet. When the champ did open up with his hands, he dropped the challenger with stiff straight. Whittaker showed up aggressive in the second act, looking to land leather on Adesanya. He then changed levels and ran through a takedown to put Izzy on his back. Adesanya quickly stood to his feet, and got back to pressuring like he did in the first round.
The start to the third frame saw a lot of feints and feeling out. When the fighters did go, they both connected with punches, but Adesanya’s seemed to have a little more sting on it. Whittaker went back to his takedown, and he controlled Izzy for a little bit, but couldn’t do much damage before the champ escaped back to open space.
Whittaker was throwing a lot of left hands to open up the fourth round, and then switched back to his wrestling. He hit a takedown and quickly scrambled to the back as Izzy stood to his feet. The champ shucked off the back pack and the fight returned to open space. Adesanya pressured forward with his jab, trying to set up a powerful right, while Whittaker stayed true to his left.
Whittaker went back to his wrestling in the final round, but just couldn’t keep him on the ground. Izzy was doing a great job of standing up and working his way off of the cage. Adesanya kicked at the calf of the challenger, and then it wasn’t long before he was fighting off of another takedown attempt.