I was very wrong to have doubted Robert Whittaker and I will be the first to say it. In a fight reminiscent of Darren Till’s main event against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, two years ago, Robert Whittaker and “The Gorilla” put on a chess match of a fight which “The Reaper” said was his most technical bout till date.
Robert Whittaker’s burnout had been a much talked about factor and something which weighed heavily on my analysis of whether the former middleweight champion might be past his prime. Spending 50 minutes in hell alongside Yoel Romero could break anyone, but Robert Whittaker has proved once again that he might be the toughest son of a gun to compete in the UFC at the moment.
Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till steals the show
The fight was not an easy one for Robert Whittaker at the start, as Darren Till dropped him in the first round with a perfectly placed elbow. Again, “Bobby Knuckles” had to show his heart while adapting to the challenges that Till laid before him, which he did perfectly by out striking the Liverpudlian for the remaining four rounds.
A unanimous victory over Till leaves Whittaker in the strangest of places, as he might have to win at least two more fights before the UFC eventually gives him his rematch against Israel Adesanya. Things could prospectively look much better for Whittaker if Paulo Costa defeats the champion, but the Aussie himself feels “The Style bender” has the stylistic advantage in that match.
While much of UFC’s match-making for Whittaker will depend on who wins the aforementioned fight, a top 5 middleweight contender has already called him out. “The Joker” Jack Hermansson had been very vocal and did most of Sean Shelby’s work as he called out the winner between Whittaker and Till.
The bout makes sense for both fighters considering they are both on a one-match win streak. They both convincingly lost their fight before that: Jared Cannonier KO’d Hermansson in style, while Izzy did the same to Whittaker at UFC 243. Their matchup is also interesting stylistically as Hermansson has an excellent ground game accompanied by submission skills.
Hermansson is no slouch on the feet either and has immense cardio as shown by his performance against “Jacare” Ronaldo Souza, as he threw 496 strikes in 25 minutes. That is some Diaz brothers, Colby Covington level cardio, and should make for one of the fun fights of the year.
Robert Whittaker has faced some of the best in the world during his near-decade career in the UFC, but the Aussie has never faced someone that possesses the skill set that “The Joker” does. Pitting them against each other as the co-main event of UFC 253 alongside Paulo Costa and Israel Adesanya himself would set up an intriguing middleweight tournament.
An impressive win against Hermansson could even see him leapfrog the current consensus #1 contender Jared Cannonier. Though if Adesanya ends up winning against “Borrachinha”, Whittaker will find a rematch against "The Style Bender" elusive considering how he lost against him.Published 27 Jul 2020, 04:30 IST