Robert Whittaker weighs in on Israel Adesanya’s UFC 276 performance: ‘It wasn’t what he sold it to be’

Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker has fought current titleholder Israel Adesanya twice and watched Adesanya’s UFC 276 win over Jared Cannonier.

The fight went the distance with Adesanya clearly winning, but the bout didn’t live up to the pre-fight hype.

“It wasn’t what he sold it to be. They said there was going to be this and that and this and that, and then none of that came through,” Whittaker said during an appearance on Submission Radio. “That’s always the problem, the risk of talking it up like that.”

Adesanya’s style may be the biggest reason some considered the fight with Cannonier less than stellar. He controls distance, is elusive, is difficult to hit, light on his feet, and efficient with his strikes. He outpoints opponents on the outside. If an opponent pressures him, he catches them with his accurate counters. He’s a difficult matchup.

“I think Adesanya is the best defensive striker in the game. His body was built for it and he knows how to utilize that skill set to the absolutely highest ability. That’s the sort of fight it was. Adesanya just fought defensively, safe, did what he needed to do to win,” Whittaker said. “I think people are going to find it very hard to dethrone him just because of the way he fights and his style.”

Styles aside, Whittaker believes Adesanya brought the backlash on himself.

“The thing is, the backlash is from him talking it up,” Whittaker said. “They were both speaking on it and then they both just didn’t deliver that, which is fine. It’s much easier to handle criticism with a W than an L. At the end of the day, winning is what matters, but you did this to yourself. You did it to yourself.”

Whittaker faces No. 3 ranked Marvin Vettori on Sept. 3 at Accor Arena in Paris, France.

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