This past Saturday on the main card of UFC 290, we saw a middleweight title eliminator. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (24-7) was looking to secure another crack at the title by going through South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis (20-2).
The fight started out really well for Whittaker. Whittaker was using his footwork to get off the better shots and even mixed in a takedown early in the first round. He was doing all the things I thought he needed to do to win the fight. However, everything changed in the final minute of the first round.
After DDP secured a body lock, he threw Whittaker to the ground. Once the fight was on the ground, Du Plessis controlled the action and landed massive elbows which cut open the former champion. The round ended and all the momentum went to DDP.
Whittaker once again started strong in the second round. He was mixing his attack and landing the bigger shots. However, upon an entry, he ran right into a right straight from DDP that dropped him and hurt him bad. DDP never let him recover and ultimately finished Whittaker in the second round. It was just the third loss at 185 for the former UFC champion.
What’s next after UFC 290?
This is a tough loss for Whittaker who was hoping to get a third fight with Israel Adesanya. Now, he’ll likely need a couple of wins before he gets back into being the top contender for the belt. Whittaker took to Twitter with a video and let all know that he’s doing well following the loss.
Whittaker also said in the video that he would love to finish the year with a win. I’m thinking that November or December makes perfect sense for a return. So, who should he face upon his return? Well, if Paulo Costa wins later this month, I wouldn’t mind seeing those two fight.
The UFC tried making that fight for February, but it fell through due to contract issues with Costa. I also wouldn’t mind seeing Whittaker face off with Sean Strickland. Strickland wanted a title shot, but Adesanya is going to fight DDP next. Fighting Whittaker would certainly give Strickland a title shot should he win.