Extending his unbeaten run to two-fights at UFC 254 on Saturday night, former middleweight champion, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker seems to have also earned a title rematch opposite former-foe, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya – with promotional president, Dana White outlining his interest in a re-run between the two.
Knocked from his main event perch for the first time since 2017 – Australian favourite, Whittaker took co-headlining honours beneath the lightweight title unification clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje.
Clashing with surging knockout ace, Jared ‘The Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier, Whittaker stuck behind a quickfire jab and that patented snap right high-kick over the three-round affair, stunning the Texan in the third and final frame with the combination on his way to an impressive 29-28 (x3) unanimous decision win. Withstanding the incredible power of former heavyweight Cannonier, Whittaker was almost chopped down on occasion with a series of leg kicks from the former.
Now 2-0 since his middleweight title unification defeat to Adesanya at UFC 243 in October of last year, a reinvigorated Whittaker can add Cannonier to his July ‘Fight Island’ decision win over former welterweight title challenger, Darren ‘The Gorilla’ Till.
Whilst Adesanya had previously issued a callout to the above-mentioned Cannonier, offering him a title clash with a victory over Whittaker – predicting he’d handily beat the former gold holder, it seems the promotion will now look to put together an interesting rematch between him and Whittaker.
“It’s very appealing to me (Adesanya vs. Whittaker II),” White told media at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “It’s the fight that makes sense right now. (Israel) Adesanya has a lot options, but the fight that makes the most sense is (Robert) Whittaker. I thought (Jared) Cannonier was gonna be a much tougher challenge for him. He looked good tonight. So the Adesanya fight makes sense.”
With the middleweight division also set for the emergence of another top-contender come December in the form of the winner of a high-stakes clash of grappling ace, Jack ‘The Joker’ Hermansson, and the aforenoted, Till – Adesanya has also flirted with a recent move to light heavyweight, as well as the ever-present ‘superfight’ with developing rival, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones.