HOUSTON (AP) — Israel Adesanya defeated Robert Whittaker by unanimous determination to retain his title and preserve management of the middleweight division at UFC 271 on Saturday night time.
Adesanya (23-1) received his eleventh straight middleweight combat within the UFC and remained undefeated. The judges scored it 48-47, 48-47, 49-46 in favor of Adesanya, who has received all 4 of his title defenses — three by unanimous determination and one by knockout.
The combat, which was a rematch of Adesanya’s title win over Whittaker (23-6) by second-round knockout at UFC 243 in 2019, was even all through, with Whittaker taking the champion down a number of occasions. However, Adesanya additionally landed punches to Whittaker’s face and kicks to his ribs.
After Adesanya managed a lot of the first spherical, Whittaker rebounded within the second to take the champion down in opposition to the cage halfway by the spherical and land a pair punches to the face. However, Adesanya was capable of get out of Whittaker’s maintain and land a pair punches.
Following a reasonably even third spherical, Whittaker took down Adesanya 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth spherical and obtained on the champion’s again to attempt to lock in a choke, however Adesanya once more broke freed from the maintain.
Within the closing spherical, Whittaker tried twice to take Adesanya down, however the champion obtained up each occasions. The 2 locked up a number of occasions in opposition to the cage, with Adesanya capable of break from of Whittaker’s grasp every time and touchdown punches to Whittaker’s face.
The subsequent contender for the UFC middleweight title is likely to be Jared Cannonier (15-5), who knocked out Derek Brunson (23-8) within the second spherical of their combat earlier within the night time.
After being taken down thrice within the first spherical, Cannonier, the third-ranked middleweight, fought again within the second spherical, elbowing the fourth-ranked Brunson and dazing him earlier than taking him right down to the mat and knocking Brunson out with punches to the pinnacle, forcing the referee to finish it.
Cannonier stated within the post-fight interview within the Octagon he needed the subsequent shot on the middleweight champion, demanding UFC president Dana White, who was cage facet, give him the chance.
Within the co-main occasion, Tai Tuivasa (14-3) knocked out Houston native and third-ranked heavyweight Derrick Lewis (26-7) within the second spherical. Tuivasa, who has received 5 straight fights by knockout, recovered from a primary spherical through which he was taken to the mat twice.
Tuivasa got here out within the second spherical touchdown punches on Lewis and backing him as much as the cage earlier than touchdown a proper elbow to the left facet of his face, knocking out Lewis, who fell face-first onto the mat.
Lewis has misplaced two of his final three fights, with each losses coming in Houston.
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