Robert Whitaker has opened as a sizeable underdog in a potential rematch with Israel Adesanya.
According to online sportsbook BetOnline, the Reaper would be a +210 dog if he fought the Last Stylebender a second time. Adesanya, who is coming off a loss to Jan Blachowicz in a failed attempt to annex the light heavyweight title, was listed as the -250 odds on favorite when the lines were first posted at the said online bookmaker.
Crossing Paths Once Again
Whitaker’s dominant win over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24 last weekend put him in a position where he could get another crack at Israel Adesanya. Adesanya took Whitaker’s middleweight belt at UFC 243 in 2019, ending the Reaper’s reign as the UFC’s 185-pound champion. But since yielding the title, Whitaker has been on a mission to reclaim it and he’s looked like a man on a mission.
— UFC (@ufc) April 18, 2021
The Reaper beautifully mixed up his striking over 25 minutes, landing jabs, straight right hands, left hooks, leg kicks, and even a front kick that flushed Gastelum’s jaw in the final round. When all was said and done Whitaker won via unanimous decision, easily getting a 50-45 score across all scorecards.
Following the win, Whitaker said that he thinks that it’s time that he crosses paths with Adesanya again. It wasn’t the direct call-out that you’d usually hear from UFC fighters. But Whitaker never makes a spectacle to get himself noticed. He just lets his game do the talking. And after wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Gastelum, it’s saying that he’s next in line.
Whitaker would’ve gotten an outright shot had his original opponent not get hurt. Whitaker was supposed to fight no. 2 Paulo Costa last Saturday but the Brazilian pulled out of the bout with an injury. That fight was supposed to be a number one contender match where the winner would automatically get the next crack at the 185-pound belt.
Vettori Stakes His Own Claim
Perhaps the only thing standing between Adesanya and Whitaker right now is not a thing, but Marvin Vettori. The Italian Dream has staked his own claim for a title shot. Since losing to Adesanya in April 2018, Vettori has racked up five straight victories and after his latest conquest, a five-round win over Kevin Holland earlier this month, he stumped for the title shot.
Marvin Vettori stumps for title shot after UFC on ABC 2: ‘I’m next’ https://t.co/2PSakXZiBb
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) April 11, 2021
Vettori has climbed all the way to no. 3 in the UFC’s middleweight rankings and that’s impressive, considering how tough 2020 was on him with virus deaths in his family and several fights getting canceled due to the pandemic. Last December, Vettori announced his arrival as an elite contender when he dominated former no. 1 ranked Jack Hermansson in impressive fashion.
The Italian Is Also the Fighter Who Has Come Closest to Beating Adesanya Inside the Octagon
He stood his ground against the Last Stylebender and took the current champion to his limits. While Adesanya emerged victorious, he did so via a narrow split decision, the only such close call in Izzy’s career.
But while Vettori has a valid claim, Whitaker’s body of work has been more than enough to merit a rematch. Three straight victories against Top 8 middleweights and all wins were crystal clear. Credit Marvin Vettori for what he’s done. He may be one win away from his shot at gold. But right now, a rematch between the Reaper and the Last Stylebender should be next, in Australia perhaps as Whitaker suggested.
Steve Richardson started writing content online in 2013 and has yet to slow down. Since joining our team at GamblingSites.org, he has covered sports, casino news, gambling laws, and much more! …