Current UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will face former champ Robert Whittaker for the second time in the biggest fight in Aussie and kiwi MMA history in Houston this weekend at UFC 271.
Their first fight ended in a round two KO win for Adesanya but Whittaker has earned his shot at redemption with three wins in a row.
Aussie Heavyweight sensation Tai Tuivasa will face the biggest challenge, and have his greatest opportunity, when he takes on The Black Beast, Derrick Lewis who will be in front of his home crowd in Houston.
There is plenty of excellent fights throughout the night, and plenty of opportunities to build a bank, and our full UFC 271: Adesanya vs Whittaker 2 Tips & Preview can be found below.
The biggest fight in Aussie and Kiwi MMA history will take place at #UFC271 in Houston and, with the help of New Zealand superstar @DanTheHangman, we have listed the Top 5 Australian & New Zealand Fighters Of All Time.
Who have we missed? pic.twitter.com/YggI2Wi0qj
— NedsAU (@NedsAus) February 4, 2022
What. A. Fight.
Israel Adesanya has put himself in the conversation as being the greatest of all time in the Middleweight division with his only loss in his professional career coming when stepping up in weight to challenge for the Light Heavyweight strap.
He has defended his Middleweight title three times since dismantling Whittaker back in to unify the championship back in October 2019 in Melbourne including wins over Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori.
There is no denying the fact that Whittaker deserves a rematch putting together three wins in a row since that fateful night at the Etihad Stadium in 2019 with wins over Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum.
Adesanya has been so dominant in this division that we forget just how good Whittaker was before the champ’s rein and his wins against Yoel Romero, with a fair amount of adversity were extraordinary.
Izzy is such a well rounded fighter and his fighting IQ is on par with anyone that we have seen in the Middleweight division, Anderson Silva included, and he is a very good points fighter.
He uses his distance well to fight from range and has many weapons at his disposal but if his challenge of Jan Blacowicz’s Light Heavyweight title showed anything, it is that his weakness may be on the ground.
If Whittaker can control some of this fight with his wrestling on the canvas, he may do enough to secure rounds in the judge’s eyes and although I do think this is a tough challenge, he is the smartest betting play at his current price.
Tai Tuivasa has been a revelation in the UFC Heavyweight division over the last 18 months stringing together four wins in a row to earn the biggest fight of his professional career.
He has spent less than 10 minutes inside the octagon during this win streak, all four wins coming by KO/TKO.
Stefan Struve, Harry Hunsucker, Greg Hardy and Augusto Sakai were all separated form their consciousness by the booming right fist of Bam Bam and his stand and deliver style has welcomed many more fans to the Aussie brawler.
Home town hero Derrick Lewis lost his chance at UFC gold when he fought for the Heavyweight interim title the last time he was in Houston, losing via TKO to Ciryl Gane back in August 2021.
He broke the UFC record for most knockout wins though when beating Chris Daukaus by KO in the first round in December.
Both of these guys are backing up fairly quickly after fighting just before Christmas and there are going to be plenty of fireworks from two guys that love to stand and bang.
The resume of Lewis speaks for itself, but Tuivasa actually matches up really well in this fight.
If he keeps his ‘live by the sword, die by the sword’ approach he represents good value at his current price.
Derek Brunson has losses to both men in the Main Event here at UFC 271 but since his loss to Adesanya in November 2018, he has put together five wins on the trot.
A TKO victory over Edmen Shahbazyan and a submission win over Darren Till have been the highlights but he is clearly a mixed martial artist that has improved in the last few years.
Jared Cannonier is another that is vying for a title shot having won four of his last five, the only loss coming via a unanimous decision against Rob Whittaker in October 2020.
His Light Heavyweight career came to a halt with back to back losses to Jan Blachowicz and Dominick Reyes but he looks much more comfortable in the Middleweight division.
Both of these men are exceptionally dangerous when striking and this is going to be an absolute corker.
Jared Cannonier’s body of work is superior to that of Brunson and I give the bigger man the advantage in the striking.
He closes the distance well and his leg kicks are a real problem and with a win here against another top opponent, he will be knocking on the door to face the winner of the main event next!