Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker (23-6 MMA) couldn’t help but feel that he was sold a dream after watching Israel Adesanya (23-1 MMA) defend his belt against Jared Cannonier (15-6 MMA) at UFC 276.
Their main event bout went all the allotted 25-minutes inside the octagon, with Adesanya managing to win via a Unanimous decision. However, Whittaker felt the bout struggled to live up to the billing.
“It wasn’t what he sold it to be. They said there was going to be this and that and this and that, and then none of that came through.” Whittaker explained during a recent appearance on Submission Radio.
“That’s always the problem, that’s the risk of talking it up like that.”
Robert Whittaker wasn’t mesmerized by Isreal Adesanya’s UFC 276 bout
Although ‘Bobby Knuckles’ has faced and lost to Adesanya twice within the UFC, Whittaker believes the style of the New Zealander leads him to be overly defensive rather than being that assertive Adesanya you’ll often see at the pre-fight conference.
“I think Adesanya is the best defensive striker in the game. His body was built for it and he knows how to utilize that skill set to the absolutely highest ability. That’s the sort of fight it was. Adesanya just fought defensively, safe, did what he needed to do to win.”
“I think people are going to find it very hard to dethrone him just because of the way he fights and his style.”
Regardless of stylistic factors, Whittaker is confident that the cause of a lot of backlash Israel Adesanya has faced following his UFC 276 performance is rooted in what he is selling compared to the product he is producing on the night.
“The thing is, the backlash is from him talking it up,” Whittaker said. “They were both speaking on it and then they both just didn’t deliver that, which is fine. It’s much easier to handle criticism with a W than an L. At the end of the day, winning is what matters, but you did this to yourself. You did it to yourself.” (Transcribed byMMAWeekly.com)
Nevertheless, Robert Whittaker’s focus is solely on his next challenge against the very durable and tough Marvin Vettori (18-5 MMA), which is set for September 3rd for UFC Paris.