UFC 271: Israel Adesanya beats Robert Whittaker to retain middleweight title

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UFC 271 took place at Toyota Center in Houston on Saturday, and the card included several notable developments.

The event anchor was none other than the veteran broadcaster Michael Eaves, alongside Chael Sonnen and Anthony Smith due to the absence of Joe Rogan as described here

The victory in the main event by Israel Adesanya (22-1 MMA, 11-1 UFC) was the most notable. He successfully defended his UFC middleweight championship for the fourth bout in a row, defeating competitor Robert Whittaker (23-6 MMA, 14-4 UFC), whom he defeated to win the title back in October 2019.

Whittaker had previously shown his interest in facing Adesanya in their first bout, at UFC 243. He  was careful with his attack this time — arguably too patient, as he never took advantage of every shot he made. Meanwhile, Adesanya swelled Whittaker’s legs with leg kicks and landed a handful of heavy hits with several jabs.

Adesanya started the fight with a series of high leg kicks. Throughout the round, Whittaker tried many takedowns but was unsuccessful. Adesanya was cautious with his attacks, hitting big hits only when he believed it was the right moment.

In Round 2, it appeared that Whittaker had already been gassed. He did, however, clip Adesanya in the midst of the round. He also got a short-lived takedown, but he managed to keep hold of Adesanya. Adesanya delivered a head kick as well as a leg kick. Whittaker’s legs seemed bloated at this stage. Despite having many opportunities, Whittaker looked to be apprehensive.

Whittaker had the same opportunity in Round 3 as he connected on a couple more punches. Late in the round, Whittaker was able to down Adesanya, but Adesanya continued his trend of breaking through and getting to his feet. As he returned to leg kicks, he was poised. With leg kicks in Round 4, Adesanya sought to stop Whittaker’s momentum. Following a takedown, Whittaker found himself on Adesanya’s back, but he was unable to capitalize. Both men continued to throw heavy jabs at one other as the fourth round faded out.

Whittaker started Round 5 with a series of good jabs. Whittaker snatched yet another major takedown and refused to let go. Even though he was cautious with his power, this was Whittaker’s finest round. As the bout came to a finish, both competitors embraced.

It means Adesanya has successfully defended the middleweight belt four times, the latest of which stopped Whittaker’s three-fight winning run.

After the fight, Adesanya, who appeared reserved at times, indicated he was ready to return to action in June. Jared Cannonier, who defeated Derek Brunson earlier in the night, will most likely be his opponent.

Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2 and the full main card of UFC 271 were covered live by several media outlets, with commentary provided by Jon Anik. Anik was assisted by UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping and two-time UFC Champion Daniel Cormier. Bisping was making his debut at the event, having previously called the UFC 251 event in Abu Dhabi.

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