Whittaker most recently competed in February, losing a unanimous decision in his rematch with middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. That loss puts Whittaker in a difficult position as the former champion has now twice fallen short against the current title holder, with no clear path back to the belt. A win over Vettori would secure his status as the second-best 185er in the world and be the first step in a long road back to the title.
Like Whittaker, Vettori has also dropped two fight to the current middleweight champion and as a result finds himself in a difficult spot in the 185-pound division. Most recently, Vettori defeated former title challenger Paulo Costa in an attempt to start the climb back to the belt, and a win over Whittaker would be a huge step in that path.
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