- Whittaker is the more experienced fighter with 24 professional fights under his belt.
- Whittaker has considerable knockout power and this factor alone is likely to trouble his opponent.
- Israel Adesanya is the more technical fighter.
Israel “Stylebender” Adesanya and Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker are set to headline the much-awaited UFC 243 event which will take place on October 5 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. Stylebender is from New Zealand while Whittaker currently lives in Australia. This throws the classic Aussie-Kiwi rivalry into the mix, making it one of the most unique fights that the UFC has put together this year.
Breaking Down the two fighters
Starting with their experience, Whittaker is the more experienced fighter with 24 professional fights under his belt. Among his greatest strengths is his stand-up game which is great. Whittaker has considerable knockout power and this factor alone is likely to trouble his opponent. Some of his most notable wins have been against Yoel Romero, and a first-round TKO win over Derek Brunson.
Adesanya is, on the other hand, the current UFC Interim Middleweight champion. He has risen from being a promising prospect to one of the most dominant fighters in the division in just a year. Adesanya and Gastelum put up a stunning performance in April in a match that went the distance. It ended in a decision win in Stylebender’s favor.
The throw-down revealed the Nigerian’s ability to overcome adversity and dig deep within himself when confronted by a more elusive, unorthodox, and hard-hitting opponent. Like Whittaker, Israel has previously fought against Derek Brunson. He won the fight by knockout in the first round.
Fighting Styles and Rankings
When it comes to fighting styles, Israel Adesanya is the more technical fighter. He comes from a kick-boxing pedigree, and his striking accuracy is exemplary at 54 percent, which stomps Whittaker’s 41 percent. Israel, however, falls short when it comes to grappling. His takedown and grappling effectiveness are listed as zero while Whittaker’s stats are at 57 percent.
It is worth noting that Whittaker currently leads the UFC Middleweight Division in the pound-for-pound rankings while Adesanya comes in second.
Sports betting sites Betfair and Sports Bet Australia slate the Nigeria-born MMA fighter as the more likely winner of the fight with a slight edge. The odds of either of them winning are, however, tight.
Pro fighters are also split on who is likely to win the fight. Some see Adesanya picking Whittaker apart with his long-range striking techniques, while others argue that Whittaker is great at closing the distance and putting constant pressure on his opponents.
One thing that Adesanya is good at though, is getting out of the way. He is a slick fighter who knows how to ease out of harm’s way and quickly rebound to set up counter-strikes. This technique, however, failed to work against, Gastelum. As such, it will be interesting to see how this fight pans out.