UFC 271: Robert Whittaker teases Israel Adesanya fight strategy, and it makes perfect sense

  • Tom Ward
Robert Whittaker teases game plan against Israel Adesanya

Robert Whittaker has suggested he will look to implement the same strategy Jan Blachowicz used to great effect against Israel Adesanya in their eagerly-anticipated grudge match.

The New Zealand-born Australian MMA fighter will rematch his Kiwi conqueror at the summit of the middleweight division a month tomorrow in the main event of UFC 271, which takes place at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Speaking to MMA Junkie, Whittaker said he has picked up a few tips from Blachowicz before explaining how he will approach the fight.  

Last year, Adesanya suffered the first defeat of his UFC career as Blachowicz retained the light-heavyweight title on points in Las Vegas.  

Whittaker, 31 said: “I think Jan set a blueprint on how to beat him.

“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.

Robert Whittaker plans to copy Jan Blachowicz against Israel Adesanya

“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.”

Despite being beaten by Blachowicz, Adesanya, 32, has never lost a fight at 185 lbs and boasts a 21-1 record.

‘The Last Stylebender’ – as he’s known – became UFC middleweight champion by knocking out ‘Bobby Knuckles’ back in October 2019 before making the step up to light heavyweight. 

Adesanya already has a number of big scalps on his CV, knocking out Paulo Costa in 2020 and decisioning Marvin Vettori in his last fight.

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But Whittaker isn’t fazed by his opponent’s rise to stardom and has been working hard on his wrestling ahead of their highly-anticipated rematch. 

The Aussie star added: “I would love to be able to get him on his back and to work on the ground.

“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 – 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.”

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