Israel Adesanya has already established himself as one of the best middleweights in the world. With a record of 17-0, he is confident that his winning strategy will allow him to “pick apart” Robert Whittaker at UFC 243.
It’s been a big year for Adesanya. “The Last Stylebender” got tongues wagging in a riveting three-round performance against former UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva in February at UFC 234. His creative arsenal of striking attacks was enough to earn a unanimous decision victory. Most recently, Adesanya took on Kelvin Gastelum in a fight that exceeded expectation. Despite being a close match, the tides turned in Adesanya’s favour and he took home a decision win after five fun rounds.
He is confident he’ll also get the job done against Whittaker.
“He’s a guy I can pick apart easily,” Adesanya said at the UFC 243 press conference (transcript via MMA Junkie.) “A challenge I haven’t faced before? I don’t think so. He just does what he does very well. There’s only a certain amount of awkwardness that he has that I haven’t seen before, but he can try to prove me wrong. From what I see, though, I’ll pick him apart quite easily.”
Adesanya sees his height and reach as a major advantage. He has a near-7-inch reach advantage over the current middleweight champ and believes this give him the upper hand.
“I have these attributes that I use very well, and I think what his camp might look at the last fight and think when Kelvin was able to get close,” Adesanya said. “That was just an error at our part and a good game plan on their part. But we’ve taken care of those errors. I’m going to be able to use my height and reach like I always have.”
Since his UFC debut in 2018, Adesanya has garnered respect by being an active fighter and for maintaining his undefeated record. He has already accomplished 6 wins in under two years and won the UFC interim middleweight belt.
Adesanya believes he would be a more active champion than his opponent Whittaker has been.
“As a champion, I’ll be a lot more active as a champion than he’s been, and I’ll be a lot more active,” he said. “Maybe not at the beginning because of timing and everything else, but I’ll be an active champion.”
Whittaker and Adesanya will battle for middleweight gold on October 6 in Melbourne, Australia. Do you think Adesanya has what it takes to pick apart Robert Whittaker?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/25/2019.