The last fight standing in front of the coveted middleweight championship is none other than Robert (Bobby Knuckles) Whittaker (21-5) vs. Jared “Tha Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (13-4). Not only is this fight a stylistic masterpiece, but the winner will surely find themselves against the unbeatable division champion, Israel Adesanya.
Former UFC champion Robert Whittaker had his career turned upside down at UFC 243. Israel Adesanya caught him with a counter left hook that ended his 9 win streak and took away his middleweight championship. Whittaker knew the road back to the top would be tough, but so is everything else in MMA. One positive of Whittaker’s incredible career thus far is that even with a tough loss he is only two fights away from a title shot. The first man in his way was Darren Till and his lustrous striking ability. Whittaker came out with a great game plan and elite striking that led to a unanimous decision win over Till. This significant win not only brought his confidence back but has now presented him the opportunity to beat Cannonier on Fight Island and earn himself another title shot against Adesanya.
On the other side of the octagon, Jared Cannonier was considered to be an above-average 205er with the chance to climb the rankings. Two straight losses against Dominick Reyes and Jan Blachowicz had the ‘Killa Gorilla’ starting to second guess the light heavyweight division. He decided to move down to the middleweight division (185) to display his power. This is the 3rd division since joining the UFC. Red flags began to rise from haters as they wondered how the former heavyweight would be able to hold up with the tough weight cut to 185. He quickly debunked any negative theories as he won all three of his UFC fights in his newest division. After impressively finishing David Branch, Anderson Silva, and Jack Hermansson the only man standing in his way of a title shot is Robert Whittaker.
Tale Of The Tape:
- Cannonier has a 4-inch reach advantage
- Whittaker is a BJJ, Hapkido, and Goju-Ryu Karate Black Belt
- Cannonier is 36 Years Old. Whittaker 29 Years old.
- Whittaker 12-3 UFC Record. Cannonier 6-4 UFC Record
- Cannonier is 3-0 in the Middleweight division. (185)
- Whittaker lands 4.51 Sig. Striker per minute. Cannonier lands 3.72.
It truly hurts me to say this, but I am going with the slight favorite in Jared Cannonier (-115). His power will set him apart from Whittaker and give him the opportunity to get a finish in the biggest fight of his career. The reality of this fight is that the winner will get the next title shot against Israel Adesanya. Cannonier is the last hope to stop Izzy and all of the cards are falling in line for a championship fight between two fighters with legit KO power.