UFC president, Dana White has confirmed the promotion is working on an undisputed middleweight title rematch between reigning champion, Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya, and former champion, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker for a January event, likely to be billed as UFC 270.
The middleweight title rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker was initially floated for UFC 268 in November at Madison Square Garden. However, travel restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would prevent Adesanya’s return to New Zealand following the bout per Whittaker’s manager, Titus Day.
“Rob (Robert Whittaker) had been told he would be fighting at Madison Square Garden,” Day told the Daily Telegraph. “But there have been some issues since and it can’t happen (then). Apparently, (Israel) Adesanya could get into American for the fight, but he wouldn’t have been able to get back to New Zealand immediately afterward (amid travel restrictions).“
“So while we know the fight is going to happen, it’s now become a matter of when,” Day explained. “Unfortunately, given everything going on with COVID (-19) in Australia and New Zealand at the moment, it may not be until early next year.“
According to UFC president, White, whilst now officially signed as of publication, the promotion is eyeing a January re-run between Adesanya and Whittaker.
“That’s a fight we want to make, so we’re working on it,” White told The Daily Telegraph. “I will get that done. That’s what we’re working on — we’re working on January.“
White went on to explain how the rematch should take place in either Australia or New Zealand, however, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would prevent that.
“You know what sucks?” White asked. “With everything that’s going on right now, when you think about that fight, that fight should be done over there. But that ain’t going to happen.“
Initially meeting back in October 2019 at UFC 243, Adesanya managed to unify the middleweight titles with a second round knockout win over Whittaker, before scoring three successful title knockbacks since.
For Whittaker, the fan-favorite rebounded from his knockout defeat against Adesanya — taking a trio of impressive unanimous decision victories over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum.
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