Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has fought current titleholder Israel Adesanya twice, and was defeated both times. While he didn’t get the result that he wanted in either fight, Whittaker has had two training camps specifically dedicated to fighting Adesanya.
Adesanya successfully defended his title for the fifth time in the UFC 276 main event defeating Jared Cannonier by unanimous decision. His next opponent also fought on the UFC 276 fight card.
Alex Pereira knocked out No. 4 ranked Sean Strickland in their main card match setting Pereira on a collision course with the champion. Whittaker recently gave his thoughts on the likely middleweight championship clash between the combat sports rivals.
“That’s an interesting fight because, a big thing is going to be how Alex takes shots. How he handles the shots from Adesanya with the smaller gloves,” Whittaker told Submission Radio during a recent interview.
“It’s not like Adesanya had a hard time, like and impossibly hard time hitting Alex in their kickboxing fights. So we’ll see how he takes the shots.”
Pereira holds two kickboxing wins over Adesanya. The second win was by knockout.
Adesanya and Pereira’s first kickboxing match in April 2016 went the distance with Pereira winning by unanimous decision. Many felt Adesanya won the fight. The rematch in March 2017 ended with Pereira knocking Adesanya out. Moments earlier, Pereira was being given a standing eight count by the referee.
Their third fight will not be in the kickboxing ring, but Whittaker expects the bout to be a kickboxing match with smaller gloves under mixed martial arts rules.
“I think it’s going to be a kickboxing fight. I’d be very, very surprised otherwise,” Whittaker said.