Over the past year and half, Israel Adesanya has quickly risen to the top of MMA. In April, he claimed an interim middleweight title by defeating Kelvin Gastelum in the current frontrunner for Fight of the Year, and in October, Adesanya will have the opportunity to make the big leap when he clashes with Robert Whittaker to unify the belts at UFC 243.
Ahead of their fight this fall, Adesanya and Whittaker have been getting increasingly chippy with one another in the media, which is particularly out of character for the normally reserved Whittaker. To be clear, it’s all fairly tame stuff. Whittaker has posted some memes about Adesanya while Adesanya has just been himself, speaking publicly about how he’s going to win and questioning the validity of Whittaker’s title. Recently, Whittaker said that the memes were just a bit of fun and that he’s not bothered at all by Adesanya trying to get under his skin because it helps sell the fight and they can settle up in the cage at the end of it. Fortunately, that works out for Adesanya just fine.
“I’m not trying to get under his skin, I’m just stating facts,” Adesanya told Submission Radio. “I’m just stating facts. . . And I said it, I’ve seen it, he’s not a guy that’s scared, I’m not a guy that’s scared. Yeah, he means business, and so do I. If he doesn’t want to sell the fight, cool, don’t sell the fight. The fight’s already sold itself. I just happen to talk a lot, and I just happen to fucking have bars to sell the fight. So yeah, you’re welcome. You’re welcome.
“Rob’s not the kind of guy that I don’t think… like I said, he’s a mute, he’s a bit of a knuckle-dragger. He’s a throwback, just meats and potatoes, ‘Oh, I do my talking in the cage’. You know that line? ‘I do my talking in the cage’ [laughs]. And so do I, I’m multifaceted. I don’t think if you get in his head or not, I don’t think it makes a difference. At the end of the day, skills pays the bills. I mean, check my resume. Come on, man, check my resume. You see the skills are heavily there.”
Adesanya’s resume is excellent. An accomplished kickboxer before transitioning to MMA, the 2018 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year sports a sterling 17-0 record in the cage and has rattled of six consecutive wins since joining the UFC in 2018. Given his success so far, the future seems increasingly bright for Adesanya, such that he’s even already started talking about fighting light heavyweight champion Jon Jones somewhere down the line. That got the attention of Jones who in turn offered to help Whittaker prepare for Adesanya. That hasn’t happened so far but if it does, “The Last Stylebender” could care less.
“Let him. F*ck, this is what I mean. Get f*cking ISIS. Bring whoever has to help you get ready for this fight, cause they can’t save you. No one can save you. If he thinks Jon Jones is gonna help him – look at Jon Jones’ striking. Don’t even insult me. Come on, man. Wrestling, yes. Get Jon Jones to help you with your wrestling.”
Wrestling is an area that Whittaker doesn’t need much help with. Though he only began competing in amateur freestyle wrestling in 2015, Whittaker won the Australian National Championship in 2017 at 97kgs (213 pounds) and only passed on competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games due to his UFC obligations. The general convention heading into his fight with Adesanya is that Whittaker would be best served by using his wrestling. However, Whittaker himself maintains that he can surprise Adesanya on the feet because MMA striking is different than kickboxing. Adesanya, for his part, thinks that is a terrible idea. Adesanya is so confident in his striking advantage that he is even willing to give away some of his game because of Whittaker chooses to stand, he doesn’t think it will matter.
“F*cking, Rob, shoot on me. Please, come on. No one’s got me down and kept me down. You’ve done it to [Yoel] Romero, you might be the one. I advise him to shoot on me. Try to keep me down. If not, strike with me. Do your little one-one, two, and then throw your right high kick. Do your little oblique kick. F*cking hell. What else? He’s good with the left hook, and that’s one thing, no one’s ever… [laughs] ah f*ck it, no one ever makes him check the left hook. No one ever makes him check [it]. I’ll give him the blueprint and I’ll still whoop his ass. No one ever makes him respect the left hook like that. No one ever makes him hesitate with the left hook. F*cking hell. Just, I advise him to shoot. I won’t Jorge Masvidal him, but I advise him to shoot. Straight up shoot, then wrestle f*ck me.”
UFC 243 takes place on Oct. 6 in Melbourne, Australia.
Rules change. ABC passes rule alteration to definition of grounded fighter.
Released. Contender Series contract winner Antonio Trocoli released by UFC after testing positive for nandrolone.
The A-Side Live Chat.
The Thrill and the Agony.
Lawler’s top-5 KOs.
DC holding court at AKA.
Masvidal and Edwards.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
There is no such thing as too much DC and Khabib.
DC came into AKA and asked Khabib to hook some of his team up with training in Dagestan. Khabib asked who was paying for it. Two seconds later, they’re arguing over who paid for lunch eight years ago. This kind of thing happens regularly. pic.twitter.com/At1KAvDEt3— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) July 31, 2019
Official fight poster.
Dalby on his return.
Received a list of possible opponents from UFC. Neither Houston or Pedersoli is on it(or Till of course) ♂️. But very interesting names on it! #UFCCopenhagen— Nicolas “Lokomotivo” Dalby (@DalbyMMA) August 1, 2019
I think Al took the wrong lesson from this right here.
let’s gooooo... it’s out there sports fans https://t.co/1vXQdKHKGR— A1 Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) July 31, 2019
Phil Baroni lifting weights barefoot and in jeans.
UFC needs to think about setting up fights in the middle of the highway. Adds a real sense of danger to the mix.
What level is this in the game Bad Dudes? pic.twitter.com/QkD6yyMKjl— Brandon Frm NJ (@BrandonfrmNJ) July 31, 2019
Rafa Garcia (10-0) vs. Erick Gonzalez (10-3); Combate Americas, Sept. 20.
Alessio Sakara (20-13, 2 NC) vs. Canaan Grigsby (8-7); Bellator Milan, Oct. 12.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
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