Robert Whittaker is excited to rematch Israel Adesanya in the main event of UFC 271 on February 12.
Whittaker and Adesanya first met back at UFC 243 where Adesanya scored a second-round knockout to become the new middleweight champion. Since then, all the Aussie has done is win as he has gone 3-0 and now gets the chance to try and right the wrong of the first fight.
Although Adesanya has been unbeatable at 185lbs, Whittaker believes there is a path to victory and that is to try and grapple the champ.
“I would love to be able to get him on his back and to work on the ground,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie. “It’s no secret that the greatest advantage anyone would have with ‘Izzy’ is on his back where he can’t use his long arms and long legs to hit you. It’s no secret.
“Am I going to focus on just that? That’s anybody’s guess because no, I can strike with the best of them, as well, so if an opportunity presents itself,” Whittaker continued. “I guess my whole headspace is just utilize the tools and the opportunities that I’m given in this fight, and I think that sums it up pretty well. If I see takedowns, I’ll take them. If I see openings to strike, I’ll take them. Keeping that defense nice and tight. More or less just a little less of what happened in the first fight.”
Robert Whittaker Believes Grappling Will Play A Key Role In Rematch Against Israel Adesanya
According to Robert Whittaker, he believes the way Jan Blachowicz fought and beat Israel Adesanya set the blueprint on how to defeat the champ. He knows he can’t just focus on the wrestling, but when it presents itself he needs to take it.
“I think Jan set a blueprint on how to beat him,” Whittaker said. “But again, I don’t have the same skillsets and tools Jan does. I don’t have that Polish power, nor that Polish head. You know, like he’s a tough guy, so got to utilize what I have. Definitely we saw that ‘Izzy’ is much less dangerous off his back. Still dangerous, but less dangerous. If I was a strategist, I would be writing down all the points of which Jan utilized to take that win and then putting it in my own.”
UFC 271 goes down in Houston, Texas on February 12 and sees Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 as the main event.