HOUSTON – UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya and ex-champ Robert Whittaker faced off for the final time before their rematch at UFC 271.
Adesanya and Whittaker kept things respectful, as they have for fight week festivities. But Adesanya was no less confident of a second win over Whittaker, declaring, “He won’t win, because I will not lose.”
The staredown marks the final time Adesanya and Whittaker see each other before the fight that marks Adesanya’s fifth attempted title defense. He defeated Whittaker by knockout in their first meeting, which took place at UFC 243 in October 2019. Since then, Whittaker has won three straight fights, while Adesanya has gone 3-1 with his lone professional MMA loss coming by way of decision in a light heavyweight fight against then-champion Jan Blachowicz.
UFC 271 takes place Saturday at Toyota Center in Houston and airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view.
Check out a video of the staredown above.