The third fight on the main card of UFC 290, was a title eliminator in the middleweight division. Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (24-6) was looking to earn his third shot against Israel Adesanya as he took on South Africa’s Dricus Du Plessis (19-2).
Robert Whittaker was making the 15th appearance at 185 in his UFC career tonight. Thus far, he was 12-2 in the previous 14 fights. The only man who has defeated him was Israel Adesanya who did it twice. Dricus Du Plessis was looking to be the second man to beat him.
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. Du Plessis has had some heat with Israel Adesanya leading into this bout with Whittaker so you can imagine who the champion was rooting for tonight.
UFC 290 Recap
The UFC 290 title eliminator kicked off with a touch of the gloves. Du Plessis takes the center and opens with a leg kick. High kick attempt from Whittaker and Du Plessis lands a body kick. Whittaker light on his feet on the outside. Nice leg kick for Bobby Knuckles.
Du Plessis rushes in and eats a jab from Whittaker. Lead left hook from Whittaker lands. Du Plessis comes in with a body kick but eats a nasty left from the former champion. Straight right hand now from Whittaker who looks very crisp in the first two minutes.
Both men land a jab and Whittaker shoots for a takedown. Big takedown from Whittaker and Du Plessis is using the fence to get back up to his feet and he does. Du Plessis rushes in and doesn’t land anything. Big right hand from Whittaker lands over the top. Right hand lands there for Du Plessis. Power jab now from Whittaker.
Body kick from Whittaker but Du Plessis answers with a big combination. Nice left straight lands for Whittaker and then Du Plessis lands a knee. Du Plessis lands a right but he eats a power jab. Body lock from Du Plessis and he uses a trip to get a takedown.
Big elbow from Du Plessis and he has 40 seconds to work. Big shots from the top from Du Plessis. Whittaker is cut and this might be stealing the round for Du Plessis. Nasty elbow from Du Plessis and he lands a few big shots to close the round. 1-0 Du Plessis at UFC 290.
The second round starts with a touch of the gloves. Whittaker opens with a combination but Du Plessis lands a big low kick. High kick from Whittaker and now he lands a clean left. Power combination from Du Plessis now. Big left hand lands for Whittaker.
Du Plessis lands a very nice jab and just misses on a big right. Combination now from Whittaker and Du Plessis lands a big body kick. Left hook now from Whittaker. Whittaker lands a low kick now. Du Plessis hurts Whittaker badly with a shot and that nearly has Whittaker out cold. Whittaker is trying to escape but Du Plessis is all over him. More big shots and Whittaker crumbles. Oh my goodness, Du Plessis is getting a crack at the UFC middleweight title.
Dricus Du Plessis def. Robert Whittaker by TKO – Round 2