UFC pushing back Israel Adesanya – Robert Whittaker 2

One of the more highly anticipated UFC fights of 2021 is going to have to wait. Today, we’ve learned that the rematch between Israel Adesanya (21-1) and Robert Whittaker (23-5) is being delayed.

Apparently, the UFC was targeting this rematch as the headliner of UFC 268 in New York. The rematch between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington was thought to be the headliner of the event.

However, we are now learning that the UFC was targeting that fight as the co-main while the Adesanya – Whittaker rematch would be the headliner. Unfortunately for fight fans, that fight will not take place in November as originally planned.

Whittaker’s manager told the Daily Telegraph today that the UFC had planned on Whittaker – Adesanya 2 headlining MSG. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions in New Zealand, the fight is being pushed back.

According to Whittaker’s manager, neither Adesanya nor Whittaker were going to have issues getting into the United States. However, Adesanya was going to be stranded for a while without being able to return to New Zealand for a while. As a result, the UFC is scrapping the November idea.

When will the UFC book this rematch?

Per Whittaker’s manager, the UFC is now looking at potentially booking the rematch in the first part of 2022. Perhaps the January PPV or even the Super Bowl PPV cards could be the target for their rematch.

The two men fought back at UFC 243 when Adesanya was the interim champion and Whittaker was the undisputed champion. Adesanya finished Whittaker in the second round to unify the UFC title.

Since that win, Adesanya has gone 3-1 with the lone loss coming in his attempt to capture a second world title against Jan Blachowicz. Whittaker has been extremely patient while he’s waited for his rematch with the UFC champion.

Bobby Knuckles has gone on a run where he’s defeated Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum. Honestly, Whittaker deserved this rematch a long time ago and I’m just glad he’s getting the next shot. Downside is that we have no idea at this point when the fight will take place.

When will the UFC book Adesanya – Whittaker 2?

This past Saturday at UFC 263, Israel Adesanya (21-1) returned to the middleweight division to defend his title. He defended his title against a familiar foe in The Italian Dream, Marvin Vettori (17-5-1). The two had previously fought in 2018.

In 2018 when the two fought, the fight was relatively close. It was evident, at least to me, that Adesanya won, but one judge gave the fight to Vettori. Since that moment, Vettori had been holding onto the fact that he could defeat the UFC‘s middleweight champion.

However, Saturday night was a much different fight. Vettori did some solid things here and there, but ultimately, it was all Adesanya at UFC 263. Adesanya controlled the range with his kicks and his defense was on point all night.

Here and there Vettori would land a shot, but nothing clean was landed all night. Adesanya did a fantastic job of using his slick striking and defense to fluster Vettori. In the end, all three judges gave every round to The Last Stylebender.

After the fight was over, Adesanya made it clear what’s next for him. Adesanya called out the former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (23-5). That is really the only fight to make in the middleweight division, now the question becomes timing.

When will the UFC make it happen?

After UFC 263 concluded, Dana White attended the post-fight press conference where he fielded questions. One of the questions he was asked was about when the rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker would take place.

White said that Adesanya was wanting to return in October which lines up with when Whittaker wants the fight. While nothing is confirmed, barring injuries, I think we should see the UFC book the rematch for the October or November PPV.

The rematch between these two is the fight to make. Whittaker’s only loss at 185 pounds was to Adesanya. Since that loss, Whittaker has gone 3-0 with wins over Kelvin Gastelum, Jared Cannonier, and Darren Till.

Whittaker should have had his rematch a long time ago. In reality, he should’ve been fighting Adesanya at UFC 263. However, he needed a little more time to prepare after just fighting a five-round main event in April. Now, the fight we wanted should be ours in the fall.

UFC booking Israel Adesanya – Marvin Vettori 2

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a middleweight title matchup for their June PPV. Combate was the first to report that the promotion was getting close to booking Israel Adesanya (20-1) against Marvin Vettori (17-4-1). Dana White hinted that the UFC was heading in this direction this week.

The rematch between these two will take place on June 12th and it will be the headliner of UFC 263. Originally, the promotion wanted Robert Whittaker (23-5) to be the one to face off against Adesanya on June 12th. However, Whittaker wanted a little more time before his rematch with Adesanya.

With Vettori ready to go, the UFC shifted gears to the next man in line. The Italian Dream has now won five fights in a row since his loss to Adesanya. Something that will get brought up in the buildup to UFC 263 is their first matchup. Adesanya won the fight by split decision, however, Vettori is adamant that he won the fight.

For the record, I believe the right man won that night. Both have been extremely successful since their first matchup and both are much more polished now. Marvin Vettori is going to go after Israel Adesanya at UFC 263 with ever intention on capturing the middleweight title.

UFC middleweight return for Stylebender

UFC 263 will mark the middleweight return of Israel Adesanya. Back in March, Adesanya moved to light heavyweight to try and become a two-division champion. However, he ultimately fell short and suffered his first career loss at the hands of Jan Blachowicz.

Adesanya took the loss extremely well and he seems motivated to defend his UFC title. Nobody in the middleweight division has been able to stop Adesanya. Since joining the promotion back in 2018, Adesanya is a perfect 9-0 in the UFC’s middleweight division.

Make no mistake about it, Adesanya is the best middleweight in the sport. However, Marvin Vettori could use a strategy that Jan Blachowicz used at UFC 259. Vettori just showed against Kevin Holland that he can lean on his wrestling. In fact, he did that in the first matchup. Adesanya will be the massive favorite, but there is a path for The Italian Dream.

After his loss at UFC Vegas 24, where does Kelvin Gastelum go from here?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 24, Kelvin Gastelum (16-7, 1 NC) had a golden opportunity. Entering 2021, Gastelum was not looking great in terms of being a top contender at middleweight.

The former interim title challenger had lost three fights in a row heading into 2021. Gastelum was scheduled to take on Ian Heinisch earlier this year and it was a fight that was pivotal for Gastelum moving forward.

The two fought at UFC 258 and Gastelum went back to his wrestling roots to snap his losing streak. With taking no damage in the Heinisch fight, Gastelum told the UFC that he would be ready to fill in if someone fell out of the upcoming middleweight main events.

Robert Whittaker (23-5) was set to headline UFC Vegas 24 against Paulo Costa. However, Costa ended up sick and had to pull out of the fight due to his inability to train. With that, Gastelum volunteered to step in.

Originally, Gastelum was supposed to face Whittaker at UFC 234 for the middleweight title. However, Whittaker had to pull out of that fight after having to undergo emergency surgery the day of the fight. If Gastelum was able to pull off a victory, he would’ve been right back in title contention.

However, that didn’t happen at UFC Vegas 24. Gastelum did have moments where he hit Whittaker clean, but overall he was a step behind all night. Whittaker rocked him a couple of times and ended up with a clean sweep on the judges scorecards.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 24?

With this loss at UFC Vegas 24, Gastelum is just 1-4 in his last five fights. A couple of years ago, Gastelum looked like he could be a middleweight champion, but it’s really hard to imagine that scenario now.

So where does Kelvin Gastelum go from here? Well, I personally would love to see Gastelum attempt to cut back to 170 pounds. I truly believe that if he did it the right way, Gastelum could be a force in the UFC’s welterweight division.

However, I don’t believe that’s likely. In looking at the middleweight division, I think a perfect next opponent would be Kevin Holland (21-7). Holland was 5-0 in 2020, but has come back down to earth in 2021 with headlining losses to Marvin Vettori and Derek Brunson.

Still, The Trailblazer is still ranked 12th at middleweight. He’s talked about moving to welterweight as well, but if he stays at 185 pounds, I think he would be the perfect opponent for Gastelum’s next UFC fight.

After dominant win at UFC Vegas 24, what’s next for Robert Whittaker?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 24, Robert Whittaker (23-5) and Kelvin Gastelum (16-7, 1 NC) headlined the card. This fight was two years in the making after their first fight fell through at UFC 234.

Whittaker and Gastelum coached opposite each other on The Ultimate Fighter and were set to fight for the middleweight title. However, the morning of UFC 234, Whittaker had to have emergency surgery and the fight was called off.

Two years later, the two men finally met inside the octagon. In a pure striking match, I figured Whittaker would have the advantage. Outside of the middleweight champion, it’s hard to defeat Robert Whittaker on the feet with his diverse attack and speed.

Gastelum was just a step behind at UFC Vegas 24. He would hit Whittaker throughout the evening, but for the most part, he was getting touched up by the former champion. Bobby Knuckles noticeably wobbled Gastelum on a couple of occasions.

On a night where most of the fights were slow at UFC Vegas 24, this one delivered. These two stood and traded all night, but as mentioned, Whittaker always got the best of it and the former champion walked away with a clean sweep on the scorecards.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 24?

After UFC Vegas 24, there is only one fight for Robert Whittaker. That fight would be a rematch with the current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya (20-1). There is nothing left for Whittaker to prove.

Whittaker was knocked out by Adesanya at UFC 243 in 2019. It was the first and still is the only loss Whittaker has ever suffered at middleweight. Adesanya expressed interest in fighting Darren Till and Jared Cannonier in 2020.

Well, Whittaker took both of them out. Now, after a dominant win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24, Bobby Knuckles has won three straight. It’s time that the UFC puts together a rematch and perhaps they could do it in Australia or New Zealand again in front of a packed house.

UFC Vegas 24 Preview: Robert Whittaker – Kelvin Gastelum

In the main event of UFC Vegas 24, we are going to see a pivotal matchup in the middleweight division. Former champion Robert Whittaker (22-5) is back as he takes on former interim title challenger Kelvin Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC).

Originally, these two were supposed to face each other at UFC 234 in 2019 for the middleweight title. The two coached against each other on The Ultimate Fighter and they were set to headline a PPV in Australia.

However, the night before the fight, Whittaker had to be rushed to the hospital with stomach issues. An emergency procedure kept Bobby Knuckles out of the title fight and Gastelum never got his shot at the UFC title.

Instead, Gastelum ended up facing Israel Adesanya a couple of months later for the interim title. Gastelum lost that fight and that started a three-fight losing streak for Gastelum inside the octagon.

However, at UFC 258 Gastelum got back on track with a win over Ian Heinisch. After Paulo Costa got sick and fell out of this main event slot against Whittaker, Gastelum jumped at the opportunity to try and get right back into title contention.

Bobby Knuckles lost his UFC middleweight title to Israel Adesanya. Since that loss, he’s taken out the top two contenders that Adesanya wanted to face. He defeated Darren Till and Jared Cannonier. If Whittaker wins at UFC Vegas 24, it’s hard to deny him of a rematch with Adesanya.

UFC Vegas 24 Preview

I’m very much looking forward to tomorrow night’s UFC main event. Again, this is a fight that is a couple of years in the making and I expect fireworks between the two middleweights tomorrow night.

One big key for me is going to be the kicks of Robert Whittaker. Both men have incredible fast hands, but it’s the kicks of the former UFC champion that could play a huge factor in tomorrow night’s outcome.

I also want to see if Gastelum can land any takedowns or if he can get any control along the fence. I believe he’s going to need to use some of his grappling skills if he wants to beat Whittaker tomorrow night.

Ultimately, I just don’t see Gastelum beating Whittaker. I love the overall game of the former middleweight champion and I think he’s going to get it done. Not just that, I think he becomes the first man to stop Gastelum via strikes at UFC Vegas 24.

Prediction: Robert Whittaker by TKO – Round 3

UFC: Kelvin Gastelum steps in to face Robert Whittaker on April 17th

Earlier today, we learned that the UFC‘s main event on April 17th had lost one of it’s headliners. Paulo Costa (13-1) came down with the flu and as a result he couldn’t train for his upcoming main event slot against Robert Whittaker (22-5).

As a result, Costa had to pull out of the fight. The UFC was thinking about potentially moving the fight back, but with the uncertainty of Costa’s condition, they decided to move on to try and find a replacement.

Former interim title challenger, Kelvin Gastelum (16-6, 1 NC) immediately volunteered. Gastelum just defeated Ian Heinisch back at UFC 258 and after the win, he said he’d stay ready in order to step in for one of the upcoming middleweight main events.

Sure enough, Costa fell out and a replacement was needed. The UFC contacted Gastelum and the sides came to an agreement. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report this evening that the promotion had finalized the deal for Gastelum to step in.

UFC title fight we never saw

Many will remember that this isn’t the first time the UFC has paired these two against each other. Originally, these two were supposed to fight in Australia back in 2019 with the UFC middleweight title on the line.

The day of the fight, Whittaker had to pull out of the fight. Whittaker had to have emergency surgery and was on the sidelines for a while. Gastelum ended up fighting Israel Adesanya for the interim title and came up short.

Adesanya of course would then go on to defeat Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title. We never got to see these two compete for the UFC title. However, now we are going to see them compete in a UFC main event. Whoever wins this matchup is going to put themselves in a great position to be the next challenger.

UFC: Paulo Costa is ill and has pulled out of the Robert Whittaker fight

One of the more anticipated UFC main events in the next month is off. Paulo Costa (13-1) has come down with the flu and he has pulled out of his main event against former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

The news of Costa withdrawing has been confirmed after AG.Fight initially reported that the fight could be in trouble. Costa has come down with the flu. The flu has him to the point where he cannot properly train for the main event slot.

The matchup was set to take place on April 17th. This is one of many fights in the UFC‘s middleweight division over the next month that is being looked at as a potential title eliminator considering these are the top two guys in the division.

For Costa, this fight was supposed to be a chance for redemption. Costa got his title shot at UFC 253 and fell completely flat against Israel Adesanya (20-1). The fight was completely dominated by Stylebender. Costa has blamed a night of drinking wine for his poor performance at UFC 253.

Tough break for the former UFC champion

As of now the UFC is currently talking about pushing this fight back to either May 1st or May 8th if Costa can be ready. If not, there is also talk about potentially seeking out a different opponent for Whittaker, although, the promotion would like to keep these two paired.

You have to really feel for Robert Whittaker. Whittaker was dominant in his run to the middleweight title and has only lost once at 185 pounds. After he lost his UFC title, he’s gone on to defeat the top two contenders who Israel Adesanya was interested in facing.

In reality, Whittaker deserves a rematch with Adesanya, but the UFC hasn’t given that to him. Instead, he is being forced to fight another top contender to earn that shot. This will be a situation to monitor over the coming days.

Paulo Costa blames wine and lack of sleep for UFC 253 loss

We are a few months removed from UFC 253. That night, the middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya (20-0), took on the previously unbeaten challenger, Paulo Costa (13-1). The fight was one of the more anticipated matchups of 2020.

However, the fight failed to live up to the hype mainly due to the challenger. While Adesanya was brilliant in scoring the knockout win at UFC 253, Costa fought extremely flat. He didn’t land anything significant before Adesanya landed the finishing blows.

It was such an odd performance from Paulo Costa. Prior to that loss, Costa was always known as someone who pushes forward with a ridiculous pace. However, at UFC 253, Costa was stuck on the outside and he didn’t push forward at all.

This left a lot of fans scratching their heads. Costa is currently prepping for his next matchup against Robert Whittaker. Their fight takes place in April and the winner is likely going to get another crack at the UFC middleweight champion.

Costa has broken his silence about his last performance. Over the weekend, Costa took to his YouTube page to talk about the loss. In all honesty, I was a little surprised to hear what he had to say and what he attributes the loss to.

UFC 253 sabotaged by a hangover?

On the UFC 253 loss, Costa said, “I was kind of drunk when I fought, maybe hungover. I couldn’t sleep because of leg cramps. The UFC told us to wake up at 5 in the morning to go to the arena to fight. I hadn’t slept until 2:30.”

“It was my mistake and I don’t blame anyone else, it was something I chose [to do], but, in order to try to sleep, because I had to sleep since I was awake for 24 hours, I had wine, too much wine, a bottle to try to black out. I had a glass and didn’t work. Two glasses, it didn’t work. Half bottle, didn’t work. I had it all.”

Clearly, it doesn’t sound like the condition were ideal for Costa. However, it’s not like his experience on Fight Island was unique. All of the fighters had to go through the same issues when they were fighting in Abu Dhabi.

Now, maybe there were more factors at play here. Perhaps the nerves of the moment caused Costa to be anxious which prevented him from sleeping. There are a number of question marks, but it was clear that we didn’t see the usual Costa back in September.

When he steps into the cage next, he needs to prove to the UFC and himself that the last fight was a fluke. Costa must show the world that he’s still the Paulo Costa we thought he was if he wants any chance at a rematch with Israel Adesanya.

UFC books headliner between Darren Till and Marvin Vettori

The UFC is making moves with their middleweight division. Last night, we learned that the promotion had finalized a bout between Paulo Costa and Robert Whittaker that would headline a Fight Night on April 17th. 

Today, ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report that the UFC has finalized another incredible middleweight matchup. On April 10th, Darren Till (18-3-1) and Marvin Vettori (16-4-1) will headline another Fight Night.

This is going to be a massive seven day stretch for the middleweight division. Darren Till last fought back in July when he took on former UFC champion, Robert Whittaker (22-5).

The fight was extremely close, but Whittaker pulled out a decision. Till was originally supposed to headline a card against Jack Hermansson (21-6) in December, however he ended up injured and the promotion moved to Kevin Holland (21-5).

However, Holland ended up testing positive for COVID and he was pulled from that fight. That is when Marvin Vettori stepped into the picture. Vettori had another fight booked, but stepped up for the UFC and took that fight against Hermansson.

UFC’s Middleweight Division

Marvin Vettori looked sensational in December when he fought Hermansson. In his first UFC headliner, Vettori dropped and hurt Hermansson early on. He went on to dominate the fight for all five rounds.

The win was a massive statement and the fourth straight for Vettori. Vettori now finds himself fourth in the UFC’s middleweight rankings one spot behind Darren Till. However, Vettori has expressed frustrations with being ranked behind Till.

Nevertheless, now the two will get a chance to prove who is the better fighter. As mentioned, this is a huge seven day stretch for the middleweight division. Let us not forget that Kevin Holland and Derek Brunson (21-7) are also headlining a Fight Night on March 20th. 

This stretch from March through April has big implications for the middleweight division. Israel Adesanya (20-0) is moving up to challenge for the light heavyweight title, however, upon his return to middleweight, there should be a lot of clarity with all these matchups.