Israel Adesanya beats Whittaker to retain UFC middlewight belt

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Israel Adesanya has defeated Robert Whittaker to retain his middleweight title at UFC 271 in Houston, Texas.

In front of 6,000 fans at the Toyota Center, the incumbent UFC middleweight champion fought Whittaker for five rounds and won a unanimous decision in his fourth consecutive title defense.

The final scores were 49-46, 48-47, and 48-47, with Adesanya improving to 22-1 for the season.

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya

“I knew he was going to bring everything cause last time I took everything away from him,” Adesanya said after his latest win. “So he had nothing to lose. Like I said, I’m the champ, you want it, come get it.”

Judges Jacob Montalvo and Doug Crosby had Adesanya winning the first three rounds and Whittaker taking the final two. Judge Mike Beltran had Adesanya winning all but the second round, which he gave to Whittaker.

 

Adesanya outlanded Whittaker 79-59 in significant strikes, according to UFC Stats. But Whittaker landed more significant strikes to the head, 38-36, with Adesanya outlanding Whittaker in strikes to the legs, 29-13. Whittaker landed four takedowns, which matched Marvin Vettori for the most by any opposing fighter against Adesanya in the UFC, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

On ESPN’s MMA pound-for-pound rankings, Adesanya was ranked No. 2 while Whittaker was ranked No. 9. Adesanya was the middleweight champion, while Whittaker was the runner-up.

Adesanya (22-1) won the championship by knocking out Whittaker in the second round at UFC 243 in October 2019.

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