Israel Adesanya knows Robert Whittaker has improved but he believes people are overhyping him.
Since Whittaker was knocked out by Adesanya at UFC 243 in 2019 he has won three fights in a row, as he beat Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and most recently, Kelvin Gastelum. He has looked impressive as of late but for Adesanya, he believes he’s a different animal and it will be the same result.
“I think he’s a good fighter, and I think he has gotten better,” he told MMA Junkie. “I’d be lying if I said he hasn’t, but I saw on Twitter again. I have a lot of time during fight week, so I’m scrolling a lot. But I saw Luke Thomas, yes, ‘Morning Kombat.’ He was saying pretty much we know this.
“In MMA, we have recency bias. You guys remember from the Yoel fight, ‘Oh my god. Israel is so boring,” he continued. “He just runs away.’ I’m like, ‘Oh, really? Watch this.’ They just forget. Rob is a good fighter. He’s had a lot of knockouts in the past. He’s gotten better, but I just don’t think it warrants that kind of reaction.”
Israel Adesanya is coming off a decision victory over Marvin Vettori to return to the win column and defend his middleweight belt for the third time. Prior to that, he suffered a decision loss to Jan Blachowicz for the light heavyweight strap which is his only MMA career loss. His other title defenses are a knockout win over Paulo Costa and a lackluster decision victory over Yoel Romero.
Robert Whittaker, meanwhile, has the three straight wins as mentioned. And although Adesanya says there is recency bias, the betting odds do not reflect that. For the first time, Adesanya was only a -130 favorite and even opened as the underdog. This time around, the champ is a -280 favorite and getting close to -300.