Following a close opening round, Whittaker just took over with a devastating striking game that probably would have finished anybody else standing in the cage with him on Saturday but Vettori showed incredible durability to survive to the final horn. When it was over, Whittaker had clearly secured the win with the judges scoring the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in his favor.
“I’m stoked with it,” Whittaker said about his performance. “All the respect to Vettori. He did not go away. I was hurting him. Trust me, I hit pretty hard and credit to him.”
With Vettori acting as the aggressor to start, Whittaker was playing counter fighter, which led to a hard right hand connecting flush on the chin of the one-time title challenger. Vettori was trying to find his range with a slick straight left that popped Whittaker in the mush, although “The Reaper” was quick to move out of the way before any follow up shots could land.
In a razor-close opening round, Vettori closed with a well-timed knee to the body that caught Whittaker off guard just as the horn sounded.
Whittaker came right back at him to start the second as he connected with another stinging right hand followed by another combination that seemingly caught Vettori off guard. The key for Whittaker was upping his output as he started to catch Vettori as he began throwing with more volume.
The feints from Whittaker were also paying off he got Vettori to bite on his bait before then unleashing powerful and accurate punches while also mixing in a couple of lightning quick head kicks.
Realizing that Whittaker was starting to gain momentum, Vettori tried moving forward and cutting off the cage but he just couldn’t seem to keep the former champion in front of him. Whittaker was so quick as he unloaded powerful straight punches and then followed with another head kick that just thudded off Vettori’s skull.
Somehow, Vettori just kept eating the strikes but he was absorbing a lot of punishment on the feet as Whittaker was really settling into a rhythm with his confidence surging. Whittaker even managed a late takedown just to put an exclamation point on his performance as he knocks off yet another top ranked fighter at 185 pounds.
“Including the champion, I’m the most dangerous man in the division,” Whittaker declared. “I make people hate fighting. I’m always gunning for that top spot. I’m always going to be lurking there waiting.”