Fight fans rejoice! A matchup that will bring the highest degree of destructive beauty to the famed octagon takes place this Saturday, October 5th when Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya faces off against reigning defending Middleweight champion Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker. This fight holds great implications for the future of the MW division, and with Paulo Costa lurking in the shadows, the winner is sure to have a line of killers waiting for them. This fight has the potential to show all aspects of MMA at the highest level, to the highest degree. Robert Whittaker is just about the most well-rounded fighter I have seen in the Middleweight division, and Adesanya is an absolute enigma in the cage. Let’s go over the keys to victory for each competitor.
The Challenger: Isreal “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya
Adesanya is one of the most exciting fighters (inside and outside the cage) to emerge in the UFC in recent memory. He is a supremely talented striker, has excellent takedown defense, and showed in his last contest that he is able to go to war and come out on top. If Adesanya wants to take this one home he has to stay elusive; he cannot let Whittaker get close to him like he let Gastelum. Adesanya needs to lay traps, he needs to throw teeps, leg kicks, and crisp jabs until Whittaker is either forced to cover ground and overextend, which will open up counters, or get baited into a head kick or knee. If Adesanya can keep his distance and avoid takedowns and slugfests, he will be able to outpoint Whittaker and win by either decision or T.K.O. off of a counter.
The Champion: Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker
Whittaker has shown time and time again that he is able to weather storms and come out on top. I had the pleasure of watching him fight Yoel Romero in Chicago, and I have never seen someone take shots like that just to come back and outstrike their opponent later in the fight. Whittaker is undoubtedly going to have to walk through that fire again. Now Adesanya is not the same power puncher that Romero is, but what Adesanya lacks in power he makes up for in speed, precision, and trickery. Whittaker has to make this fight dirty, much like Gastelum did against Adesanya: create chaos, create a brawl, clinch with him, and impede his movement with pressure and cardio. This could even land Whittaker a takedown which is the ultimate goal whenever fighting someone like Adesanya. If Whittaker can force Adesanya to brawl with him and make him stray away from the point fighting, he can win this fight by decision undoubtedly.
With all that being said, I cannot wait for this fight. Months have gone by with this scrap in mind and the fact that it is about to happen has me giddy for the technique-filled, chaos-ridden, violent extravaganza that is Adesanya vs Whittaker.
Featured Photo: UFC