UFC 271: Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 Preview

Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker will share the cage for the second time as they duel for the middleweight title in the main event of UFC 271. Adesanya was the victor in the previous encounter, knocking out his Australian adversary in the second round. Adesanya took the title that night, now will be the turn of Whittaker to try and win back the belt he once held.

Izzy seemed to have won the mental battle ahead of their last contest, Whittaker admitted himself that Adesanya got into his head. I don’t believe that to be an issue heading into this rematch. Jan Błachowicz layed out the blueprint to beating the middleweight champion and that was a mixture of slick striking along will well timed takedowns. Whittaker is well capable of carrying out that gameplan, but Izzy has not shown the same weakness on his takedown defence at 185-pounds, than he did at 205-pounds.

For Izzy to remain champion he has got to obviously nullify those takedown attempts and land some of his own shots on the feet. I’m interested to see how long Whittaker is willing to play around on the feet with Adesanya being such a dynamic striker. It didn’t play out to well for the Aussie the last time, it’s also very difficult to get back into a cage with someone who has knocked you out in the past.

I do expect this fight to go all five rounds, I would expect a strong start from Whittaker and maybe some success in the grappling department. Whittaker will need to make it count if he does put Izzy on his back, he will need to land big shots on the mat because those shots may not be there when the fight is standing. I reckon we see Izzy targets the legs of Whittaker, that will open up strikes to the body and to the head. Whittaker knows he can be hurt on the feet so I would expect a more cautious approach but in the end I think that Adesanya’s takedown defence will prove to be too good. I feel that the champion will land the better shots on the feet enroute to picking up a decision win to retain his middleweight crown.

Two heavy-hitting heavyweights will throw down in the co-main event as Derrick Lewis takes on Tai Tuivasa. Lewis will be looking to put the disappointment on losing the interim title to Cyril Gane on home soil behind him. He has the chance again this time around to get a hometown win against his Australian rival. Tuivasa has been on an impressive run and is on a four-fight win streak. Both these guys have the killer touch and this fight could be over in a blink of an eye. Very excited to see how the one plays out.

Jared Cannonier and Derek Brunson could be fighting to see who the next contender in the middleweight division is. That adds an extra spice to this contest. Brunson is on a five-fight win-streak, Cannonier has only lost one in his last five and I expect this to be a classic striker vs. grappler battle. In the bantamweight division Kyler Phillips and Marcelo Rojo get the main card treatment and I expect both guys to put on a show. In the main card opener, Bobby Green looks to continue his resurgence in the lightweight division Nasrat Haqparast who was defeated by Dan Hooker in his last outing.

Legend of the game, Andrei Arlovski will be looking for his 33rd professional win as he headlines the prelims section of the card in the heavyweight division. Sanding across from “The Pitbull” will be Jared Vanderaa who was beaten by Alexander Romanov in his last outing. Roxanne Modafferi will compete in her swan-song as she tackles Casey O’Neill in the women’s flyweight division. Modafferi, who is a former title challenger, will have her hands full as she faces off with one of the top prospects in the 125-pound division. O’Neill is undefeated in eight fights and the Scottish born, Australian based flyweight looked very impressive in finishing Antonina Shevchenko last time out.

In the men’s flyweight division Alex Perez and Matt Schnell will lock horns in a mouthwatering affair. Perez has not been seen since his title defeat against champion Deiveson Figueiredo in late 2020. Schnell was also defeated in his last trip to the octagon, he dropped a unanimous decision to the heavy hitting Rogério Bontorin. A light heavyweight standoff is set to open up the prelims section as William Knight goes up against Russia’s Maxim Grishin. Knight beat Alonzo Menifield to a unanimous decision when he last stepped foot inside a cage. Grishin found himself on the wrong end of a decision when he was beaten by Dustin Jacoby in February 2021.

Ronnie Lawrence entered the UFC through the Contenders Series in 2020, the bantamweight fighter was victorious on his debut when he finished Vince Cachero in round three in February of last year. His dance partner, Leomana Martinez, also won on his UFC debut, winning a split decision by Guido Cannetti. That fight headlines the early prelims section.

Alexander Hernandez and Renato Moicano will battle it out in the lightweight division. How this matchup ended up on the early prelims, I’ll never know. Fans will be in for a treat if they do tune in early because I can not see this encounter disappointing. Hernandez likes to get it done early, he picked up a first round knockout over Mike Breeden in his last trip to the octagon. Moicano took on Jai Herbert last time out, he snacted a rear-naked choke to het the finish in round two of that fight.

In the 205-pound division New Zealand’s Carlos Ulberg looks to get back to winning ways when he faces off against Fabio Cherant, who is without a win in his last two bouts. Jacob Malkoun, also a New Zealander, will make the walk to take on A.J. Dobson in the middleweight division. A bantamweight showdown between Douglas Silva de Andrade and Sergey Morozov, who are both experienced competitors is the second fight on the card. Jeremiah Wells and Mike Mathetha will serve as the curtain raiser, that fight takes place at 170-pounds. A monster card and I hope you all enjoy the action.

Main Card (BT Sports / ESPN+)

Middleweight: Israel Adesanya (21-1) vs. Robert Whittaker (23-5)
Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis (26-8) vs. Tai Tuivasa (14-3)
Middleweight: Jared Cannonier (14-5) vs. Derek Brunson (23-7)
Bantamweight: Kyler Phillips (9-2) vs. Marcelo Rojo (16-7)
Lightweight: Bobby Green (28-12-1) vs. Nasrat Haqparast (13-4)

Preliminary Card (BT Sports / ESPN+)

Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski (32-20) vs. Jared Vanderaa (12-6)
Women’s Flyweight: Roxanne Modafferi (25-19) vs. Casey O’Neill (8-0)
Flyweight: Alex Perez (24-6) vs. Matt Schnell (15-6)
Light Heavyweight: William Knight (11-2) vs. Maxim Grishin (31-9-2)

Early Preliminary card (ESPN+ / UFC Fight Pass)

Bantamweight: Leomana Martinez (9-2) vs. Ronnie Lawrence (7-1)
Lightweight: Alexander Hernandez (13-4) vs. Renato Moicano (15-4-1)
Light Heavyweight: Carlos Ulberg (3-1) vs. Fabio Cherant (7-3)
Middleweight: A.J. Dobson (6-0) vs. Jacob Malkoun (5-1)
Bantamweight: Douglas Silva de Andrade (27-4) vs. Sergey Morozov (17-4)
Welterweight: Jeremiah Wells (9-2-1) vs. Mike Mathetha (3-0)

Ian O'Neill is a Kilkenny man living in Canada. You can catch him on Twitter most of the time talking all things MMA. Follow me on Twitter and on Instagram @ioneillmma.