Israel Adesanya beats Robert Whittaker: Five things we learned from UFC 271

  • Tom Ward
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Israel Adesanya retained his middleweight title with victory in his grudge match against Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 271 from the Toyota Center in Houston in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The Last Stylebender registered his fourth successful defence of the 185lb belt with a unanimous decision victory over Aussie rival Bobby Knuckles in front of a sold-out crowd at the home of the Houston Rockets.

After weeks of back-and-forth, the pair embraced at the end of the technical contest in Texas in an incredible show of sportsmanship.

As per usual the UFC never fails to deliver controversy and excitement, and on a night where we saw knockouts, submissions and questionable decisions, here are five things we learned.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 12: Tai Tuivasa of Australia celebrates after winning his heavyweight fight against Derrick Lewis via a second-round knockout during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Tai Tuivasa: The people’s champion

It was meant to be a special night for Derrick Lewis as he was fighting once again in his hometown of Houston, Texas – but Tai Tuivasa spoiled his homecoming party.

Billed as a ‘Don’t blink or you’ll miss it’, the all-action contest did not disappoint. After overcoming some early adversity, ‘Bam Bam’ was able to use his Muay Thai clinch to knock out the Black Beast.

Oh, and he also managed to convince UFC president Dana White to do a shooey. If that isn’t what winning feels like, we don’t know what does.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 12: Jared Cannonier reacts after winning his middleweight fight against Derek Brunson via a second-round knockout during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Count out Jared Cannonier at your peril

Jared Cannonier got back into the win column when he badly needed it most with the biggest victory of his career.

The Killa Gorilla found himself in a spot of bother after Derek Brunson landed a huge right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas.

However, he rallied and knocked out Brunson in the second round, before calling for a shot at the title.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 12: Casey O’Neill of Scotland reacts in her women’s flyweight fight against Roxanne Modafferi during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Casey O’Neill can turn heel as well

You come at the king, you best not miss.

Or so the crowd found out for themselves after they decided to boo Casey O’Neill following her victory over Roxanne Modafferi.

The fiery little Scot took a deep breath before giving them a taste of their own medicine with a few expletives chucked in there as well for good measure.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 12: Renato Moicano of Brazil punches Alexander Hernandez in their lightweight fight during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

There is more to come from Renato Moicano

It wasn’t so long ago that MMA fans were writing off Renato Moicano after back-to-back stoppage defeats to Jose Aldo and Chan Sung Jung.

Now they may be forced to eat their words as he made it two in a row with a second-round submission win over Alexander Hernandez, who was coming off a win over his own over debutant Mike Breeden back in October.

Victory over Hernandez was Moicano’s third in his four most recent outings, which have all come via a rear-naked choke.

HOUSTON, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 12: Bobby Green reacts as he challenges Nasrat Haqparast of Germany in their lightweight fight during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Bobby Green vs Renato Moicano is the fight to make

UFC matchmakers Mick Maynard and Sean Shelby may as well put their feet up for this one as the narrative arguably writes itself.

As we mentioned earlier, Moicano showed off his slick submission skills against Hernandez. Bobby Green, meanwhile, put in a vintage performance in getting past Nasrat Haqparast.

A win over the other would put them in pole position for a place in the top 10 of the lightweight division. Pitting these two against each other makes perfect sense.

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