In the headliner of UFC 271, we saw a rematch for the middleweight title that was two and a half years in the making. The middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (21-1) was defending his championship against the former champion Robert Whittaker (23-5).
Whittaker has waited patiently and he’s finally getting his second crack at Adesanya for UFC gold. Back in 2019, Whittaker lost his title to Adesanya when he was knocked out by him in the second round. After that loss, Whittaker went back to the drawing board.
He’s come back better than ever and he’s rattled off three straight wins. Not only has he won three straight, but two of the three men were guys that Adesanya was interested in defending the middleweight title against. Those two men were Darren Till and Jared Cannonier.
Adesanya last fought at UFC 263 when he defeated Marvin Vettori. That was a bounce back win after his loss to Jan Blachowicz where Adesanya failed in his attempt to become a two-division champion. That said, Adesanya has remained perfect at 185 and he was looking to continue that at UFC 271.
UFC 271 Recap
The UFC 271 main event kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Adesanya opens the striking with a low kick. Low kick answer from Whittaker. Oblique kick from Whittaker and another low kick lands for the champion. Inside leg kick from Adesanya lands and Whittaker circles.
Outside leg kick from Whittaker. Jab lands for Adesanya. High kick attempt from Adesanya is blocked by the challenger. Another solid oblique kick from Whittaker. Both men are very patient in the opening couple of minutes. Two more solid leg kicks land from Adesanya.
Whittaker blitzes but nothing lands. Jab from Whittaker and a vicious calf kick from Adesanya lands. Big straight shot from Adesanya and Whittaker goes down. Whittaker is right back up but Adesanya is taunting him here. Sloppy takedown attempt from Whittaker is easily defended.
Pressure here from Adesanya and he lands a brutal leg kick. Another sloppy takedown attempt from Whittaker and Adesanya is looking supremely confident here. The round ends and it was a very good one for Adesanya. 1-0 for the champion at UFC 271.
Entering the second at UFC 271 and Whittaker needs to get some respect to make this competitive. Double jab from Whittaker and he tries to follow with a head kick but Adesanya evades. Whittaker attacking more here in the second round.
Things are getting wild and Adesanya clips Whittaker. However, Whittaker lands a couple of big shots in the exchanges. Adesanya lands a brutal kick and they are back at range. Nice jab lands for Whittaker. Big right hand just misses from Whittaker, but he lands two good left hands.
Whittaker is definitely landing more here in the second. Head kick dodged by Adesanya and he lands a big leg kick. Big takedown attempt from Whittaker and he gets Adesanya down. However, Adesanya uses the fence and immediately gets back up to his feet.
Whittaker keeps the clinch and is pushing Adesanya against the fence. They break and they’re back to striking. Two solid kicks land for Adesanya. Solid jab from Adesanya and Whittaker lands a big calf kick on the counter. Two good left hands from Whittaker.
Pressure here from the champion and both men trade big shots. Powerful leg kick from Adesanya. The round comes to a close and it was razor close, but I lean towards Whittaker which would make it even at UFC 271.
Entering the third and this could be even at UFC 271, but Adesanya definitely still holds the edge in momentum. Adesanya goes right back on the pressure to start the third round. Switch kick from Adesanya just misses the mark and Whittaker comes in with a straight left.
Body kick from Adesanya. Jab from Whittaker as Adesanya comes in. Another solid body kick from Adesanya lands. Low kick from Adesanya who is starting to put on a kicking clinic here at UFC 271. Big left straight from Whittaker and Adesanya lands a big counter.
Oblique kick from Whittaker. Whittaker tries blitzing but Adesanya evades. Level change from Whittaker and he tries a takedown, but Adesanya defends well. Adesanya goes for a head kick and Whittaker uses the opportunity to get a brief takedown.
However, Adesanya pops right back up and they are back to striking again. Nice jab from Whittaker. Double jab from Whittaker but Adesanya lands a flush shot back. Huge low kick from Adesanya buckles the leg of Whittaker. Left straight from Whittaker and a nice counter right lands from Adesanya. Another really close round at UFC 271.
Entering the fourth and this is a very close fight at UFC 271. Oblique kick starts the round for Whittaker and he lands a flush left hand behind it. Body kick finds the mark for Adesanya. another brutal leg kick lands for Adesanya. The two men come to a clinch and Whittaker lands some good shots on the inside.
However, Adesanya lands a flush counter on the exit. Whittaker times a takedown beautifully and gets to the back of Adesanya. Adesanya pops up but Whittaker is hunting the choke. He almost has it in, but Adesanya defends it well and shakes off the challenger. Great scramble there and we are back at range.
Both men trade big jabs. Nice left hand from Whittaker but Adesanya brutalizes him with two more leg kicks. Big counter right from Adesanya and Adesanya is pressuring here. Uppercut in tight lands for Whittaker. Whittaker double jabs and Adesanya just misses on a huge right hook.
Adesanya pushes forward, but Whittaker catches him in a clinch and pushes him against the fence. Big right hand lands for Whittaker and the round comes to a close. Likely Whittaker’s round and I honestly have no idea how this is scored at UFC 271.
Entering the final round at UFC 271 and this could be anyone’s fight. Whittaker comes in with a double jab and he lands it twice in a row. Nice jab from Adesanya and Whittaker lands a nice left hook. Body kick from the champion and he’s pushing forward here.
Another body kick lands for Adesanya. Huge left straight from Whittaker pops Adesanya’s head back, but he doesn’t follow up. Adesanya back on the pressure and he lands a big kick. Level change from Whittaker and he looks for a takedown. However, Adesanya defends and shakes him off.
Another good left hand lands for Whittaker. Big takedown attempt from Whittaker and he gets Adesanya down briefly. However, once again, Adesanya gets back to his feet. Body lock from Whittaker and he presses Adesanya against the fence.
Nice left hook from Whittaker on the break. Big jab lands for Adesanya and he’s back to the pressure. Low kick from Adesanya lands and Whittaker throws a combination. Another level change and takedown attempt from Whittaker.
He nearly gets him down. However, Adesanya stays on his feet. Whittaker is holding him against the fence and he tries to drag him down, but Adesanya stays on his feet. The round comes to a close and that should be Whittaker’s round, but this could be anyone’s fight at UFC 271. I think Adesanya will likely win a decision here.
Israel Adesanya def. Robert Whittaker by Unanimous Decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)