UFC 271: Adesanya v Whittaker Preview

    ByElliott Nash

    Feb 12, 2022

    It’s fight week and there’s no better event in combat sports than a UFC pay-per-view event. This current event, UFC 271, is the second PPV of this calendar year and is hosted at the famous Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas. The event is planned to start as early as 23:00 pm GMT / 6:00 pm ET on Saturday 12th February, and it could be one of the most significant events in 2022.

    Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker

    One of the most deserving rematches in the UFC, superstar kickboxer ‘Izzy’ matches up against ‘The Reaper’ Robert Whittaker to continue his legacy to be the best middleweight fighter in UFC history, looking to eventually overtake Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva.

    Saturday night will be Adesanya’s 7th title fight, previously beating the likes of Gastelum, Romero, Vettori, Costa and current opponent Robert Whittaker. The only championship fight he has lost was when he fought ex-champ Jan Blachowicz for the Light Heavyweight belt in the weight class above. But, by no means embarrassing himself, it was clear the Last Stylebender did not fully commit to the 205 lbs role, due to his commitments at his current weight of 185 lbs. Nonetheless, Adesanya understands to be the best, you need to beat the best and will always welcome a challenge, no matter how hard it may be.

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    But in the middleweight division, there is no harder fight for Izzy than one against Robert Whittaker. Despite their last bout in which Adesanya decimated Rob easily in the second round, this was seen as an anomaly in the performance of Whittaker. This is not a beaten man looking to make up the numbers, this is a man who has beaten the who’s who of the middleweight rankings and wants to avenge his loss.

    Since his loss against the slick striker, Rob has gone on a three-fight undefeated run taking out Jared Cannonier, Darren Till and Kelvin Gastelum all by decision. Mixing up his snappy stand up with trippy wrestling, he will look to be the first fighter to take out the current champ at 185 lbs. Whittaker has previously mentioned that Izzy’s previous victor, Jan, has already laid out the blueprint and it’s up to him to follow suit. Can Adesanya accomplish GOAT status, or will Whittaker rob gold?

    Derrick Lewis vs Tai Tuivasa

    Clearly set up with the fans in mind, the co-main event features two heavy hitters, looking to knock each other out in the very first round. Lewis, who is coming off a frightening first-round KO win against Chris Daukaus, will be wanting to beat his opponent this weekend in anticipation of the rumoured interim title fight in the near future. This is of course, down to the moves of both Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic of course.

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    But in his way is fellow show stopper Tai Tuivasa. Tai, who is running a 4 fight winning streak with all of those coming by finish, has transformed his career inside the UFC from being just a fun novelty to a potential title contender. ‘Bam Bam’ has managed to achieve this by being more efficient and patient with his strikes, something that makes this knockout artist that much more frightening inside the octagon.

    Although current champ Francis Ngannou unexpectedly mixed up his stand up with powerful takedowns, expect the complete opposite in this fight. There will be no surprises in the style department, this will be a pure stand-up fight.

    Jared Cannonier vs Derek Brunson

    Number 3 ranked Middleweight Cannonier faces off against number 4 in order to establish who fights for the title next IF Izzy wins this weekend. Cannonier, who is primarily a stand-up fighter, will be wanting to make it two in a row after beating Kelvin Gastelum in his last fight back in August 2021.

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    His opponent however is the contender killer Derek Brunson, who is a horrible matchup for any fighter due to his ability to mix his respectable striking with his deadly wrestling which has allowed him to achieve a five-fight winning streak against big names such as Kevin Holland and Darren Till. Brunson has also mentioned that he will only fight two more times before calling it quits, so if he stands by this statement, a win on Saturday night will make or break for his title goal.

    Fights to look out for:

    Kyler Phillips vs Marcelo Rojo

    Bobby Green vs Nasrat Haqparast

    William Knight vs Maxim Grishin

    Carlos Ulberg vs Fabio Cherant

    AJ Dobson vs Jacob Malkoun