Having won the UFC interim middleweight championship with a thrilling decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum in the co-main event of UFC 236 this past Saturday, Israel Adesanya can now look forward to a title-unifying collision with undisputed middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
This clash between New Zealand’s Adesanya and Australia’s Whittaker will likely go down in Australia late this year, per UFC President Dana White.
“We were going to do that fight here,” White said at the UFC 236 post-fight press conference. “I wanted it in the United States. But, we’re definitely not doing that fight in the Unites States. It’s going to Australia. Yea, it will be massive in Australia.”
When this fight does occur, Whittaker will enter the cage as the betting favorite — at least according to the opening odds for the fight.
Online sportsbook BetOnline has released the early odds for this matchup. They’ve pegged Whittaker as a slight -160 favorite (bet $160 to win $100), while the new interim champion Israel Adesanya has been identified as a +140 underdog (bet $100 to win $140).
- Robert Whittaker: -160
- Israel Adesanya: – +140
While Adesanya is unlikely to agree with these betting odds, Whittaker certainly seems to like his chances against the Kiwi.
“If you watch the fight you can see the holes that were there from every fight before, they just got exposed bigger,” Whittaker said on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show on Monday, discussing UFC 236’s Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum matchup. “There were holes and there were a lot of things Gastelum exploited, and there were a lot of things Gastelum could’ve exploited but couldn’t because of his makeup, because of his striking style, because of his height, his reach. Gastelum was getting in. Gastelum was landing his left. I’ll get in, I’ll land my right. I’m much faster than Gastelum, I’m a better striker. Israel should be very worried. I’m a very hard fight.
“He doesn’t like getting hit and he’s very, very hittable,” Whittaker added. “I hit hard. If he can weather the storm and take my shots and survive five rounds like he did with Gastelum, then congratulations to him, he’ll get the win. But I don’t think he’s going to. I’m a better fighter than Gastelum. I hit harder, I’m faster and I come with a new level of intensity he’s not used to.”
Who do you think will come out on top when Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker face off in the Octagon?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 4/16/2019.