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UFC 271: Israel Adesanya fends off Robert Whittaker to defend middleweight crown

It was a closer fight this time, but Israel Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight title at UFC 271.

Whittaker was more confident coming into the contest confident and aside from a knockdown in the first round, remained composed looking for striking and takedown opportunities.

Adesanya took the centre of the octagon for most of the fight, trying to stalk Whittaker or goad him into attacking for a counterstrike. This helped produce a brief takedown in the second round but Adesanya used the cage to get back and resume landing the majority of shots.

Whittaker scored another takedown in the third frame, but was unable to do much with it. This allowed Adesanya to regain octagon control.

Adesanya ate a nice left hook in the fourth round and got up from another takedown. The last round was more of the same.

The judges scored it 48-47, 48-47, and 49-46.

With the win, Adesanya said in the post-fight press conference that he considered the fight to be his fifth title defence, including his interim title. Whittaker was proud and respectful in defeat, even though he thought he “did enough” to get the victory.

Douglas Andrade de Silva and Sergey Morozov earned Fight of the Night, while Tai Tuivasa and Jared Cannonier took performances of the night. Each fighter earned a $50,000 USD bonus.

Kenai Andrews checks in with his thoughts on the card.

UFC 271 FIGHTPASS PRELIMS 

WILLIAM KNIGHT VS. MAXIM GRISHIN

WINNER: MAXIM GRISHIN VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: WILLIAM KNIGHT VIA TKO

Andrews: I thought Knight would bully Grishin, but it was Grishin who could controlled the bout. All Knight did was miss weight.

JEREMIAH WELLS VS. MIKE MATHETHA 

WINNER: JEREMIAH WELLS VIA TECH SUBMISSION (RNC) R1 4:38

ANDREWS PREDICTION: MIKE MATHETHA VIA TKO

Andrews: Wells went right in there and choked the hype out of Blood Diamonds.

DOUGLAS SILVA DE ANDRADE VS. SERGEY MOROZOV 

WINNER: DOUGLAS SILVA DE ANDRADE VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) 

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DOUGLAS SILVA DE ANDRADE VIA UD 

Andrews: Wow! Andrade de Silva got off the deck in the first round to get the choke.

A.J. DOBSON VS. JACOB MALKOUN 

WINNER: JACOB MALKOUN VIA UD 

ANDREWS PREDICTION: A.J. DOBSON VIA UD

Andrews: It was a close fight, but Malkoun outworked A.J.

LEOMANA MARTINEZ VS. RONNIE LAWRENCE 

WINNER: RONNIE LAWRENCE VIA UD (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: RONNIE LAWRENCE VIA UD

Andrews: Martinez was on the defensive for much of this fight.

UFC 271 PRELIMS 

CARLOS ULBERG VS. FABIO CHERANT

WINNER: CARLOS ULBERG VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: CARLOS ULBERG VIA TKO

Andrews: Cherant did well, but the taller Ulberg outworked him and used his reach.

KYLER PHILLIPS VS. MARCELO ROJO

WINNER: KYLER PHILLIPS VIA SUBMISSION (ARMBAR) R3 1:48

ANDREWS PREDICTION: KYLER PHILLIPS VIA UD

Andrews: This was vindication for Philiips.

ROXANNE MODAFFERI VS. CASEY O’NEILL 

WINNER: CASEY O’NEILL VIA SD (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: CASEY O’NEILL VIA UD

Andrews: Modafferi did not go out easily. All the best in your future endeavours.

ANDREI ARLOVSKI VS. JARED VANDERAA 

WINNER: ANDRE ARLOVSKI VIA SD 

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ANDRE ARLOVSKI VIA UD

Andrews: I wonder if Arlovski would have got the finish if he landed that spinning backfist.

BOBBY GREEN VS. NASRAT HAQPARAST

WINNER: BOBBY GREEN VIA UD (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: BOBBY GREEN VIA UD

Andrews: Bobby comes through again on short notice.

ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ VS. RENATO CARNEIRO 

WINNER: RENATO CARNIERO VIA SUBMISSION (RNC) R2 1:23

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ALEXANDER HERNANDEZ VIA UD

Andrews: Carniero used that big knee to get the choke. Very impressive.

JARED CANNONIER VS. DEREK BRUNSON 

WINNER: JARED CANNONIER VIA TKO (ELBOWS) R2 2:43

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DEREK BRUNSON VIA UD

Andrews: Wow! Brunson fought smart and almost finished the fight but got caught with the right hand. Credit to Cannonier for overcoming.

DERRICK LEWIS VS. TAI TUIVASA

WINNER: TAI TUIVASA VIA TKO (ELBOWS) 

ANDREWS PREDICTION: DERRICK LEWIS VIA TKO

Andrews: This is Tuivasa’s big moment. Mark Hunt would have been proud. Now he has to keep it going.

MAIN EVENT 

(C) ISRAEL ADESANYA VS. #1 ROBERT WHITTAKER

WINNER: ISRAEL ADESANYA VIA UD (48-47, 48-47, 49-46)

ANDREWS PREDICTION: ISRAEL ADESANYA VIA UD

Andrews: A good performance from Whittaker, but Izzy was just better. Excellent strategy and got up from takedowns quick. Only took a few good shots.

The next UFC event is UFC Vegas 48, which is scheduled for Feb. 19 at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Johnny Walker takes on Jamahal Hill in the light heavyweight main event.

@kenaiandrews

KenaiAndrews
KenaiAndrewshttps://www.mmacrossfire.com
Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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