It’s hard to deny that both Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker are the two best middleweights in the world currently however Adesanya stays that step ahead with another victory over Whittaker.
The bout headlined UFC 271 which took place at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas on Sunday (AEDT).
It wasn’t as easy as his first match-up and it looked early that it might be as Adesanya dropped Whittaker inside the first round. Whittaker, to his credit, recovered and went straight back to his game plan which he was hoping would bear fruit.
That game plan involved trying to mix up the takedowns while striking from a distance and the 31-year-old Sydney-based fighter had his success, taking rounds off Adesanya, particularly late in the round.
Largely known for his striking, Adesanya again proved that he has a great defensive arsenal with Whittaker unable to do any damage after succeeding with takedowns, with Adesanya doing well to get back to his feet.
When the final bell went, the judge’s call was unanimous, awarding Adesanya the bout 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46.
Adesanya remains undefeated at middleweight and moved his professional record to 22-1 while Whittaker drops to 23-6, with his lone losses at middleweight being at the hands of Adesanya.
In the semi-main event, Tai Tuivasa continues his massive run with a knock-out over the ‘knock-out king’, Derrick Lewis. ‘Bam Bam’ Tuivasa was on the verge of getting his walking papers from the promotion after suffering a third straight loss in 2019. After a year of reflection, Tuivasa returned and has won five in a row, all by knock-out.
Tuivasa looked in danger early as Lewis wrestled Tuivasa to the ground. Not wanting to be on the bottom of heavy ground-and-pound from Lewis, Tuivasa knew he had to move and immediately went to work in trying to get back to his feet, taking a barrage of heavy punches from Lewis in the process. Lewis took the first round but with both back on the feet, it was up for grabs for either fighter to win as round two commenced. Both swung for the fences as they bit down on their mouthguards, throwing big hay-makers. It paid dividends for Tuivasa who hurt Lewis and shortly, he landed a big elbow in the clinch that dropped Lewis to the canvas.
The win came 1:40 of round two as Tuivasa moves his record to 15-3 as he springboards himself to title fight contention with a win against the number 3 ranked fighter. Lewis drops to 26-9.
Casey O’Neill’s impressive run inside the UFC continued as she dominated a retiring Roxanne Modafferi. The Scottish-born, Australian-raised fighter dominated every round but was shocked when the judge’s decision was split, with one judge awarding the bout to Modafferi. O’Neill outstruck Modafferi in every round and set a new record for most significant strikes landed in a three-round fight as she moved her record to a perfect 9-0. Her four-fight win streak in the UFC flyweight division is tied second-longest with champion Valentina Shevchenko leading the division with 8 straight wins.
Earlier on the card, Carlos Ulberg won a unanimous decision against Fabio Cherant while Jacob Malkoun secured a second straight victory with a decision against A.J. Dobson. ‘Blood Diamond’ Mike Mathetha’s introduction to the UFC didn’t go as planned, as he was submitted by Jeremiah Wells.
- Israel Adesanya def. Robert Whittaker via Decision (Unanimous) – UFC middleweight title
- Tai Tuivasa def. Derrick Lewis via KO (Elbow), Rd 2, 1:40
- Jared Cannonier def. Derek Brunson via KO (Elbows), Rd 2, 4:29
- Renato Carneiro def. Alexander Hernandez via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 1:23
- Bobby Green def. Nasrat Haqparast via Decision (Unanimous)
- Andrei Arlovski def. Jared Vanderaa via Decision (Split)
- Casey O’Neill def. Roxanne Modafferi via Decision (Split)
- Kyler Phillips def. Marcelo Rojo via Submission (Triangle Armbar), Rd 3, 1:48
- Carlos Ulberg def. Fabio Cherant via Decision (Unanimous)
- Ronnie Lawrence def. Mana Martinez via Decision (Unanimous)
- Jacob Malkoun def. A.J. Dobson via Decision (Unanimous)
- Douglas Silva de Andrade def. Sergey Morozov via Technical Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 2, 3:34
- Jeremiah Wells def. Mike Mathetha via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), Rd 1, 4:38
- Maxim Grishin def. William Knight via Decision (Unanimous)