Current middleweight champion, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya has opened as a sizeable favorite with the bookies ahead of a potential rematch with former division kingpin, the number-one ranked, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker.
Adesanya, who initially met with Whittaker to unify the middleweight championships back in October of 2019 at UFC 243, took home an impressive second-round knockout as the interim titleholder, becoming the new undisputed kingpin as a result.
In the time since, the City Kickboxing mainstay has notched a pair of successful title defences against upcoming Bellator debutante, Yoel Romero, as well as an October ‘Fight Island’ win over Paulo Costa — scoring a stunning second-round stoppage via strikes.
Headlining UFC 259 in March, Adesanya dropped his first professional loss, unsuccessfully prying the light heavyweight title from Jan Blachowicz in his attempt to become a two-weight champion held simultaneously. Despite the unanimous decision loss to the Pole, Adesanya has still opened as a favourite ahead of Whittaker in a potential re-run.
Per outlet, BetOnline — Adesanya is currently, at the timing of writing, sitting as a -250 favourite over Whittaker, with the former coming in as a +210 underdog. In comparison, ahead of their October 2019 title matchup, the lines were considerably closer, with Whittaker leading as a favourite in many markets, before some substantial money toward the close of fight night brought Adesanya in as a narrow favourite, with many also pairing the two as a pick ’em.
Likely set to feature in a title rematch against the Nigerian-Kiwi in his next outing, Whittaker extended his undefeated streak since the October 2019 knockout loss, to three fights on the weekend at UFC Vegas 24.
Headlining the UFC Apex facility event, Whittaker drew once-scheduled foe, Kelvin Gastelum on short notice, turning in a vintage unanimous decision display — scoring 50-45 scorecards from top to bottom.
With the win, Whittaker managed to add Gastelum to prior successes against Jared Cannonier and Darren Till. Suggesting the rematch against Adesanya immediately following his win, Whittaker called for a stadium headliner with the defending champion in either September or October coming, in either Australia or New Zealand.