It appears the UFC has identified a January landing pad for a much-anticipated undisputed middleweight championship rematch between Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya and former titleholder, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker, with organizational president, Dana White confirming that the promotion are working on a January matchup between the two — likely to take place at UFC 270.
Initially meeting in October 2019 in Melbourne, Australia, Adesanya, the then-interim middleweight championship, successfully unified the crowns with a stunning second round knockout victory over Whittaker in a main event tilt.
The long-awaited second showdown between Adesanya and Whittaker was briefly expected to feature at UFC 268 in November at Madison Square Garden, however, travel restrictions amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, Adesanya would be unable to return to New Zealand following any pairing with Whittaker.
Per UFC president, White, the pairing is now expected to take place in January, likely on a UFC 270 pay-per-view card, however, White couldn’t hide his disappointment at the fact that the re-run would unlikely take place in Australia or New Zealand.
“That’s a fight we want to make, so we’re working on it,” White told The Daily Telegraph. “I will get that done. That’s what we’re working on — we’re working on January.“
“You know what sucks?” White asked. “With everything that’s going on right now, when you think about that fight, that fight should be done over there. But that ain’t going to happen.“
Following his title-clinching effort against Whittaker, City Kickboxing ace, Adesanya managed to lodge three successful defenses of his middleweight title, besting Yoel Romero and Marvin Vettori with a pair of unanimous decision wins, as well as a second round knockout victory over Paulo Costa last September on ‘Fight Island.’
For Whittaker, the calculated technician returned against former welterweight title challenger, Darren Till in July of last year — lodging a unanimous decision win before securing a pair of judging successes opposite both Jared Cannonier and common-foe, Kelvin Gastelum.