Israel Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight title in a headlining rematch with Robert Whittaker tonight at UFC 271, but it was more closely contested than their first outing.
The main event middleweight title rematch is underway in Houston!
Adesanya feels out with a leg kick attempt. Now Whittaker lands one solidly. Inside leg kick for Adesanya.
Side kick from Whittaker to the leg misses. He misses on another leg kick. Inside leg kick from Adesanya.
Jab for Adesanya after a missed side kick from Whittaker. Now Whittaker does land a leg kick and Adesanya connects with a jab.
Adesanya threatens with a front kick upstairs that doesn’t miss by much. Adesanya comes forward and lands a kick to the thigh. Now another leg kick. Whittaker rushes in trying to land a left hook without finding it.
Calf kick for Adesanya. Kick upstairs from Adesanya. leg kick from Whittaker gets a nod from Adesanya after he looked to check it.
Adesanya with a straight left and drops Whittaker. He gets back up though and seems ok. Whittaker tries for his first takedown attempt and Adesanya sprawls nicely and gets away from danger.
Adesanya comes forward throwing a jab and then a leg kick. Whittaker tries to counter but doesn’t connect.
Whittaker in on another takedown attempt and Adesanya stuffs it again. Hard body kick from Adesanya.
Leg kick for Adesanya. Whittaker tries a head kick that just whiffs past Adesanya’s head. Whittaker comes forward throwing left hands.
Punch for Adesanya and then a good left lands for Whittaker. He’s being a bit more reckless now, but at least he’s in the fight a bit more than before.
Whittaker gets a left hand through during a brief exchange. Now a big hook just grazes past Adesanya.
Adesanya comes into range and gets caught by another punch. He misses with a head kick attempt. Now an inside leg kick from Adesanya.
Whittaker suddenly bursts forward into a takedown attempt and catches Adesanya by surprise to take him down. The champion does well to stand back up quickly though.
Whittaker stays clinched up against the cage and looks to manufacture another takedown attempt. Adesanya able to break free though and goes back to striking range.
Low inside kick from Adesanya. He lands a head kick, but Whittaker’s guard was up, then a body kick quickly behind it.
Adesanya with a low outside kick. Now a jab and Whittaker counters with a leg kick of his own. Double jab for Whittaker.
Head kick attempt from Adesanya. Jab lands for Whittaker as Adesanya was stepping forward. Adesanya aborts on a leg kick attempt. He stalks his opponent as the round ends.
Grazing jab from Whittaker. Whittaker circles on the outside. Adesanya misses on a head kick attempt. Whittaker stumbles off a missed jab as Adesanya evades him easily.
Jab for Whittaker as Adesanya was thinking about a kick. Leg kick from Adesanya after a few feints from both men.
Hard jab lands for Whittaker and Adesanya fires back with a flurry. Leg kick for Adesanya. Another lands and Whittaker attempted to work a takedown off of that, but Adesanya did very well to still stuff that despite being slightly off-balance.
Head kick attempt from Adesanya, but it gets caught up on Whittaker’s shoulder and enables the challenger to bring him to the mat.
Adesanya instantly scrambling back up and Whittaker tries to get on to his back. He’s unable to get anything going there though and they go back to the feet with Whittaker still clinched to his back. Adesanya able to get away though.
Jab for Adesanya. And again. Heavy leg kick from Adesanya buckles Whittaker’s leg for a moment, and the champ lands a punch too.
Whittaker presses forward with a jab and Adesanya slipped as he was backing up. Body kick for Adesanya.
Oblique kick for Whittaker. Now he steps in and lands a punch. Back to kicking at the knee now. Body kick for Adesanya.
Leg kick for Adesanya’s already battered lead leg. In close Whittaker lands the left hand and Adesanya with a knee.
Whittaker lands a takedown in the center of the Octagon. Adesanya straight back up, but Whittaker hops onto his back standing and looks for a rear-naked choke.
Adesanya does well to escape that and get back to striking range. Adesanya pressuring again now as Whittaker moves on the outside.
Double jab for Whittaker. Inside leg kick for Adesanya. Now a head kick attempt that he doesn’t fully commit too. A jab apiece lands.
Low leg kick for Whittaker. Another jab for him. Adesanya lands the outside leg kick and Whittaker lands a good jab. Another hard leg kick for Adesanya and Whittaker is getting increasingly ginger on that lead limb.
Whittaker lands an uppercut in close. Double-jab for Whittaker and Adesanya throws back too. Solid jab for Adesanya now.
Whittaker gets into the clinch against the cage. They soon break apart. Right hand lands for Whittaker. Adesanya goes for a head kick to end the round but it’s blocked.
Nice left and a right behind it from Adesanya as Whittaker was pressing forward. Double jab for Whittaker.
Adesanya constantly commanding the center of the Octagon. jab for Whittaker. Body kick for Adesanya. He lands another one with more power.
Front kick to the body from Whittaker and tries to punch behind it. Jab lands for Whittaker cleanly.
Inside leg kick for Adesanya. Whittaker tries for a takedown, but Adesanya fends it off.
Right hand over the top from Whittaker lands, but he gets a finger in the eye in the process and takes a very brief stoppage to recover.
Adesanya looks for a body punch, but Whittaker drives into a takedown and gets him down. Adesanya instantly back up. Whittaker clinched to his back though. Now Whittaker tries for a single-leg, but doesn’t get it. Whittaker does land a good left hand though and Adesanya taps at his head to acknowledge it.
Whittaker working hard for a takedown, but Adesanya defends it. Whittaker settles for clinching up against the cage as he thinks about setting up another takedown opportunity.
30 seconds to go. Whittaker tries to drag him down, but Adesanya defends it. Whittaker remains clinched up in the final 10 seconds rather than let his hands go or risk Adesanya doing the same to him.
A fairly close fight then, with Adesanya certainly being the more assured and effective on the feet for the most part, particularly early in the fight and with leg kicks. However, Whittaker did start to find a home for some of his punches as the fight went on, had some brief successes with takedowns and had a good final round in particular.
In the end though it’s no surprise to see Adesanya emerging with his hand raised by unanimous decision (48-47 x2,49-46).