Feb 7, 2022
Feb 7, 2022

UFC 271 preview: Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2

Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2 betting preview and odds

Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker stats

Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2 predictions: Where is the value?

Adesanya and Whittaker's fighting styles analysed

UFC 271 preview: Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2

Israel Adesanya puts his UFC Middleweight title on the line against Robert Whittaker at UFC 271. Will 'The Last Stylebender' successfully defend his belt, or will 'The Reaper' earn revenge for his loss at UFC 243? Read on to inform your Adesanya vs. Whittaker predictions.

Event: UFC 271

Date: February 12, 2022

Venue: Toyota Center (Texas, USA)

Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2: Tale of the tape

Israel 'The Last Stylebender' Adesanya

Fighter

Robert 'The Reaper' Whittaker

32

Age

31

193 cm

Height

180 cm

84 kg

Weight

84 kg

10-1

UFC record

14-3

21-1

Overall MMA record

24-5

50%

Striking accuracy

41%

Champion

UFC ranking

#1

Adesanya won the interim Middleweight Championship with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in April 2019. He became the undisputed champion at UFC 243 later that same year in October when he beat Whittaker by KO in round two. Adesanya has successfully defended the title on three occasions, beating Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori.

The Nigerian-born fighter has only lost once in his professional MMA career but that defeat came at Light Heavyweight when he stepped up a division to face champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March 2021. Blachowicz was awarded the win via a unanimous decision after using his size advantage to out-wrestle Adesanya over five rounds.

Adesanya returned to Middleweight for his most recent fight and claimed a unanimous decision win over Italian Vettori at UFC 263 in June 2021.

Whittaker became the interim Middleweight champion after beating Yoel Romero by unanimous decision at UFC 213 in July 2017. He was promoted to undisputed champion in December 2017 after champion Georges St-Pierre was forced to vacate the belt due to medical reasons.

The Australian won a rematch with Romero at UFC 225 in June 2018, although it was a non-title bout after the Cuban missed the weight. His first official title defence came at UFC 243 in October 2019 when he lost to Adesanya via a second-round knockout.

Whittaker has picked up three successive victories since that loss, beating Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum, all by unanimous decision.

Analysing the Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 odds

Adesanya has yet to lose a contest at Middleweight and he is rated as the favourite for this bout at 1.364*, equating to an approximate 70.44% chance of victory. Whittaker is priced up as the underdog at 3.250*, translating to a 29.56% likelihood of winning on the night.

Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2: Fighting styles analysed

Adesanya started his MMA career as a kickboxer in 2010 and his record sits very impressively at 75-5. He competed in several weight classes and became the Glory Middleweight champion in 2016. Adesanya has also competed professionally as a boxer and boasts a 5-1 record, with one victory by knockout and four via a decision. 

The 32-year-old has a reputation as one of the most formidable strikers in UFC history and has picked up 15 of his 21 MMA wins by KO/TKO. He relies heavily on his foundation as a kickboxer and utilises his long legs to great effect. Adesanya often tends to ease into his fights, taking the opening round to gauge his opponent’s movement and make adjustments, before coming out more aggressively in round two.

His Strikes Landed Per Minute ratio of 3.94 is lower than Whittaker's 4.68 but he absorbs fewer due to his elusive style. Adesanya's statistics show he absorbs just 2.59 strikes per minute, in comparison to Whittaker's 3.34. Adesanya, who has often been compared to the great Anderson Silva, has fantastic movement and likes to strike on the counter, drawing his opponent forward before responding from range with kicks from awkward angles.

Adesanya's wrestling has improved since moving into MMA, although he struggled massively against Light Heavyweight Blachowicz. He has yet to attempt a single takedown since signing for the UFC and he will need to rely on his 80% takedown defence to avoid ending up on his back.

It could be argued that Whittaker's style is more well-rounded and he has nine wins by knockout, five by submission, and nine by decision. He was a freestyle wrestler before making the move to MMA. Whittaker qualified to represent Australia in freestyle wrestling at the 2018 Commonwealth Games but he withdrew from the Games to avoid being stripped of his UFC title. His wrestling could be a key factor in trying to exact revenge over Adesanya.

However, he is not a one-trick pony and boasts plenty of power in his hands. Whittaker throws freely, landing 4.68 strikes per minute and boasts an 83% takedown defence success rate.

Whittaker tends to set up his attacks with kicks from range before stepping in to hunt for a takedown or follow on with his heavy hands.

Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2: Where is the value?

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since Adesanya and Whittaker first met in October 2019. Adesanya's inability to wrestle has been exposed by Blachowicz and Whittaker will undoubtedly have that contest in mind when he considers his approach this time around.

Whittaker was guilty of starting his attacks from too far away in the first meeting with Adesanya, lunging in and leaving himself exposed for the counter when he stepped into range. That's how the first fight finished: Adesanya landed a counter hook and put Whittaker's lights out.

It's crucial for Whittaker to mix it up and keep Adesanya on his toes.

It is crucial for Whittaker, who didn't even threaten a takedown last time, to mix it up and change levels to keep Adesanya on his toes. The challenger has looked much improved in his three fights since that loss and he needs to close the gap with a more considered approach and make it a dirty fight.

Adesanya has it all when it comes to stand-up fighting and he will certainly have been spending extra time working on his ground game. If he can make any takedown attempts stick then he should have no issues in defending his title.

The first meeting between the pair came to an end late in round two but both fighters have gone the distance on several occasions since then and another full five rounds could be on the cards here. Adesanya has heard the buzzer in three of his last four fights, while each of Whittaker's last three trips to the octagon, which all ended in victory, have gone the distance.

With this in mind, an Adesanya win and the fight being settled by decision seems the way to go.

Looking forward to UFC 271? Get the latest UFC odds for every bout with Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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