A highly anticipated rematch between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker is apparently in jeopardy for UFC 271.
Adesanya (21-1 MMA) and Whittaker (23-5 MMA) had originally squared off for the promotions undisputed middleweight title in October of 2019, with ‘Stylebender’ emerging victorious by way of a second round knockout.
Since then, Whittaker has gone a perfect 3-0, scoring decision victories over perennial contenders Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kevin Gastelum during that stretch.
After Israel Adesanya successfully defended his title against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263, Dana White announced that a rematch between ‘Stylebender‘ and ‘The Reaper’ would be next up.
‘Adesanya vs Whittaker 2’ was originally targeted for UFC 268 at Madison Square Garden. However, the United States new pandemic-related restrictions forced the promotion to make a change of plans and the bout wound up being pushed back to UFC 271.
At least that’s what we thought anyway. But according to Adesanya’s head coach Eugene Bareman, the middleweight title fight is far from finalized.
“Rob and his people, his wonderful manager, can’t secure this fight and they’re panicking” Bareman told Submission Radio (h/t MMAMania). “So, they put out these stupid tweets and this and that. It’s like, mate, just relax, boys. Just train. That’s all we’re doing. You guys do the same. Let us handle the business, because you guys are incapable. That management team’s incapable. So, we’ll just handle the business side of things, and if this is the direction that the fight is going to go, towards Robert, then we’ll secure it for you. We’ll do your job for you. But stop with the social media stuff. Like, that doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t do anything. It just shows your insecurity about the fight. Don’t worry. We’ll sort the fight out.”
Eugene Bareman continued to discuss the possibility of Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2:
“Maybe we’re working on something different. Maybe if we can delay this Robert fight by a few months, maybe we can have it in a big stadium in Australia. Maybe that’s the right thing to do. And that’s fine. Let’s get everybody around together and let’s push Robert back a bit. I’m sure Robert would love to do this fight in a massive stadium on home turf. Let’s put someone else in this February slot. You don’t know, and I’m not willing to confirm that. (Whittaker) had the title fight, and now he might have to get pushed back. I don’t know.”
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