Watch: "I took my death note out and wrote his name in it" - Israel Adesanya breaks down his UFC 243 win over Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker (left); Israel Adesanya (right)
Robert Whittaker (left); Israel Adesanya (right)
Johny Payne
Modified 05 May 2021

Israel Adesanya has broken down his UFC 243 win over Robert Whittaker. Addressing his win, Adesanya pointed out a notable ‘Death Note’ anime reference he made during the fighter introductions inside the octagon and analyzed how the fight played out.

'The Last Stylebender' faced 'The Reaper' in an epic UFC middleweight title unification matchup at UFC 243 (October 2019). Israel Adesanya entered the fight as the interim UFC middleweight champion, whereas Robert Whittaker was the UFC middleweight champion.

The fight witnessed Adesanya beat Whittaker via second-round KO and successfully unify the belts to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion.

In a video posted on his official YouTube channel, Israel Adesanya provided an in-depth breakdown of his UFC 243 win over Robert Whittaker. Adesanya stated –

“One f**king epic moment, just epic in history, this sh**. I feel like I’ll do it again. Me and him will do it again in Eden Park. I’m not doing it again in Australia. When we fight, we’ll do it in New Zealand. And I’m hoping this whole Corona bullsh** is over by then because this is, this fight’s too epic to not give some to New Zealand. They’ve had their shot, Australia, on their home soil. I took it away from them. Now they gotta come over here and try to take it away from us.”
“Oh, and this bit right here is very significant. It’s the intro – ‘Cause he (Robert Whittaker) is the Grim Reaper. And the Grim Reaper is supposed to be the God of death. And I was like, ‘No, I know the real God of death: Shinigami called Ryuk’. So, if you know, you know. Took his; I took my Death Note out. I put his name in it…Just the whole theatrics of it. And I swear I wrote his name down, and there was something happening when I did this, spiritually, that I can’t get too into. But, yeah, it was deep. Sh** was different after this fight. I’ll say that much.” (*H/T Sportskeeda for the transcription)

The UFC middleweight kingpin opined that he remembers Whittaker feeling the pressure during the fighter introductions. Israel Adesanya noted that Whittaker hadn’t been very active in the lead-up to their fight, whereas he (Adesanya) and fighters like Adesanya’s close friend Kamaru Usman try to compete as often as they can and stay sharp.

Israel Adesanya also suggested that his upcoming pair of fights are set to be rematches – first against Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 (June 12th, 2021), and then against Robert Whittaker later this year.

Israel Adesanya was unafraid of brawling with Robert Whittaker and systematically dissected 'The Reaper' at UFC 243

Israel Adesanya (left); Robert Whittaker (right)
Israel Adesanya (left); Robert Whittaker (right)

Israel Adesanya suggested that he established his range in round one. He switched from orthodox to southpaw and back, countered Robert Whittaker’s oblique kicks with his own set of leg attacks, and neutralized Whittaker’s blitzes by utilizing good angles.

Adesanya credited Whittaker for being good at blitzing but noted how he simply used a check left hook from the orthodox stance to nullify Whittaker’s blitzes.

Additionally, Israel Adesanya admitted that he messed up a few times and was open to being hit by Whittaker. However, whenever he couldn’t completely evade Whittaker’s strikes by sliding out of range, he successfully parried or slipped them. Adesanya added that he controlled the center of the octagon, stabbed Whittaker with strikes to the body, and made 'The Reaper' bite on all his feints.

Besides, Israel Adesanya pointed out that he landed a question mark kick on Whittaker. He continued by saying that Whittaker was throwing serious heat but he made the 30-year-old miss most of the time. Adesanya claimed that he was making Whittaker tired by making him swing and miss, but was also ready to brawl.

Furthermore, Adesanya explained that Paulo Costa is better than Whittaker at inside fighting. The Nigerian-born Kiwi was more willing to brawl with Whittaker than he was with Costa. He then addressed the knockdown at the end of round one and how he used Capoeira to lure him in.

Adesanya countered Whittaker’s aggressive 1-2 by using the right hand to throw Whittaker off balance. He then used the right again to knock down Whittaker, but the round ended and the latter was saved by the bell.

Israel Adesanya then moved on to round two and saw Whittaker wanting to touch gloves at the beginning of round two. Adesanya believes this was a sign that he’d already beaten Whittaker.

Adesanya added that he showed great ring-generalship in round two as well but stepped into some of Whittaker’s strikes. Adesanya also stressed that he slapped Whittaker with the left and rocked him with the right hand.

Moreover, Israel Adesanya explained that he then unleashed a right headkick-left hook combo from the orthodox stance, and he then pursued his foe like a missile. Adesanya also highlighted the multi-strike head-body combination he threw as Whittaker covered up.

Whittaker proceeded to try his famous blitz - punches ending with a headkick combo. Nevertheless, Israel Adesanya simply stepped out of range and/or parried or blocked the combo. Whittaker recently hurt Kelvin Gastelum with this combo but couldn’t hurt Adesanya with it back in 2019.

Then came the final sequence where Israel Adesanya was like a gunslinger in a shootout with fellow gunslinger Whittaker. Adesanya noted that he used his right hand to push Whittaker into his left hook, and he dropped and finished the Aussie.

Israel Adesanya apparently told himself, when Whittaker was hurt at that moment, that he mustn’t get sloppy. Adesanya knew he simply had to get to Whittaker and “punch him in the face lots of times”.

Published 05 May 2021
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