Many questioned Robert Whittaker’s move from welterweight to the middleweight division back in 2014 but the move has proved a successful one with Whittaker securing his fourth straight win in the division.
The Sydney based fighter defeated number-13 ranked middleweight contender Rafael Natal via unanimous decision earlier today on the main card of UFC 197.
The event took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, USA was broadcast live on Mainevent pay-per-view on Sunday.
The fight was predominantly contested standing with Whittaker successfully defending the takedown attempts from Natal. The Brazilian landed leg-kicks however a looping left rocked Natal near the end of the first round.
It was much the same in the second as both fighters threw heavy shots with Whittaker defending an early takedown attempt and snapping Natal’s head with another overhand. Natal continued to pepper Whittaker’s thighs with leg-kicks.
Whittaker’s punches found their mark with a high accuracy in the third final round as the Australian based fighter pushed through the leg-kicks that were starting to take their toll.It would still be Whittaker who would be on the front foot, stuffing the takedowns and landing solid punches that had Natal stumbling but able to hang on to the final bell.
All three judges awarded the fight to Whittaker who pushed his professional record to 16-4 (UFC 7-2). 33-year-old Natal drops to 21-7-1 (UFC 9-5-1).
The main event was headlined by the return of former light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones whom after a prolonged time away from the cage, returned and captured the interim light-heavyweight title with a unanimous decision over Ovince Saint Preux.
In the co-main event, Demetrious Johnson made claims to the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet with a first-round stoppage over previously unbeaten Henry Cejudo.
Main Card (Mainevent PPV):
Preliminary Card (Fox Sports):
Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass):