MDP Live - MMA fighter Robert Whittaker was stabbed in the face by UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya in a brutal duel. Adesanya defended his belt in a fierce fight at the main event of UFC 271 in Houston, Texas, United States.
Israel Adesanya, a Nigerian-born New Zealand fighter, brutally crushed Robert Whittaker again in a clash two and a half years ago. But he failed to kill The Reaper in a more decisive manner the second time around, instead having to settle for a unanimous decision victory thanks to the scorecard 47, 48-47, 49-46.
After his hand was raised as a winner, Israel Adesanya vented his joy. "I know he will take everything, I know he will take everything because last time I took everything from him. So he has nothing to lose. And like I said, I am the champion! You want it, take it," said Israel Adesanya. .
A disappointed Whittaker, meanwhile, said: “I'm heartbroken. I think I did enough. I think I took it."
Adesanya has now set his sights on a summer clash with Jared Cannonier, who brutally beat Derek Brunson earlier on the main card. "I know June doesn't have a pay-per-view yet but, like I said, I'm the new dog in the yard. I'm a big dog," he said.
"And I know the other dogs in the yard are doing some work tonight. So, yeah, I'll be in this crate in June. Keep an eye on me."
Adesanya quickly took over in the center of the octagon after referee Herb Dean started the fight and fired several low shots in before changing stances. The champion unleashed a low foot and calf shot that blocked Whittaker's movement.
And seconds after missing a kick, Adesanya knocked his opponent down with a beautiful straight left hand past the guard. Whittaker quickly bounced back and it wasn't too long before he started two takedown attempts either side of a fine left-handed counter. A desperate Whittaker missed with a few jabs early in the second round and went wide of the target with a header. He lands a hard hit on the next try, though he does hit back for his troubles.
Whittaker looked desperate as he came out for a second. Whittaker's repeated left-hand strike drew a big reaction from the crowd but did little to disturb Adesanya. Whittaker, as many had expected, finally managed to finish the fight but was immediately disheartened after Adesanya bounced back.
Adesanya, 32, kept the pressure on in the third round and constantly bothered Whittaker with his tricks. Another attempt to ground the fight was made by a very confident Adesanya, although he briefly found himself on the canvas before interrupting the round with another heavy footed kick. Whittaker momentarily knocked Adesanya off a head kick but the champions quickly bounced back – albeit with a challenger.
The fourth round proved more successful for Whittaker as he began to find a place for his repeated left hook strokes, although he was unable to follow up with the right hand that usually accompanies him. Adesanya returned to a fine calf strike as he tried to set the distance, but he soon found himself in a precarious situation as Whittaker leaned his back against the railing. The outstanding former Glory player kept his cool and fought well enough to prompt Whittaker to react.
Whittaker countered Adesanya by landing a fine right-handed punch on the advancing champion before dodging a high kick with seconds of the round remaining. Whittaker landed a major takedown after a brief pause in action due to an accidental eye poke, but Adesanya quickly bounced back.
A powerful left hand hit Adesanya with a slick counter. After the fight was over, the two pairs quickly embraced after the final horn ended a tough five-round war.