UFC 290 Preview: Robert Whittaker – Dricus Du Plessis

Sep 3, 2022; Paris, FRANCE; Robert Whittaker (red gloves) defeats Marvin Vettori (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Accor Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Tomorrow night on the main card of UFC 290, we are going to see a title eliminator in the middleweight division. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (24-6) will try to earn his third shot against Israel Adesanya as he takes on South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis (19-2).

Make no mistake about it, Robert Whittaker is the best middleweight in the world not named Israel Adesanya. The former UFC champion is a career 12-2 at 185 with the two losses coming to Adesanya. The first by knockout and the second was a close decision which Whittaker believed he won.

Since that last fight with Adesanya, he’s had a fight with top contender Marvin Vettori and he won by decision. If you look at the top of the division, Whittaker has pretty much beaten every top contender outside of the champion. However, he’s never faced Dricus Du Plessis.

Du Plessis made his UFC debut back in 2020. The former KSW champion has gone a perfect 5-0 inside the octagon with steps up along the way in competition. He already has some heat with the champion so we know who Adesanya is rooting for on Saturday night. Du Plessis has two straight finishes over Darren Till and Derek Brunson leading into UFC 290.

UFC 290 Prediction

Du Plessis’ cardio has been something of question throughout his career, but he had nose surgery which supposedly is going to help is cardio. He’s going to need it tomorrow night when he takes on Bobby Knuckles. The overall physicality advantage likely goes to Du Plessis, but most other advantages go to Whittaker.

I think speed and footwork is going to play a big factor in this fight. Du Plessis is going to land, but I think Whittaker’s footwork and speed will allow him to land the cleaner shots and overall land more over the course of three rounds. Du Plessis will likely try to do some wrestling and could find success against the fence.

However, Whittaker is very slippery and ultimately I think this stays at range. Throughout three rounds, I just think Whittaker is going to land the better shots. Du Plessis can land enough to make it close, but give me the former UFC champ tomorrow to stay perfect in bouts not involving Israel Adesanya.

Prediction: Robert Whittaker by Decision