Australian Robert Whittaker is looking like the the UFC world has never seen him before in an explosive start to his fight with Israel Adesanya.
The dream trans-Tasman re-match between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya is finally here.
Whittaker’s return to the Octagon headlines a stacked card at UFC 271 in Houston, Texas, which also features Aussie Tai Tuivasa in one of the biggest fights of his career against cult-hero Derrick Lewis.
You can follow all the live results below.
Watch UFC 271: Adesanya vs Whittaker LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 13th February from 2pm AEDT. ORDER NOW >
Adesanya vs Whittaker round-by-round updates
Round 1: Whittaker cautiously sized up Adesanya, but the first round went to the champ. Adesanya easily executed a knock down on Whittaker, who already looks demoralised and desperate for answers.
Commentator Jon Anik said: “I have to acknowledge how defeated Robert Whittaker looks right now.
“He said something to his corner about his leg and he looked defeated. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that.”
MMA legend Daniel Cormier added: “He looked discouraged.”
Round 2: A better round for Whittaker, who landed a couple of nice jabs and managed a takedown, but Adesanya easily recovered and got back to his feet. Whittaker is copping a barrage of leg kicks from Adesanya, who is still on top.
Round 3: An even round, with Whittaker managing a better takedown but he couldn’t keep Adesanya on the ground, and the champ once again wriggled free before landing some strong leg kicks.
Round 4: Whittaker is hanging in there as the fight heads to a final round. He got up on Adesanya’s shoulders but couldn’t land a finishing blow. The Aussie’s coaches in his corners are urging him to jab with his right hand.
Tuivasa pulls off stunning comback victory
Tai Tuivasa is alongside the big boys of the heavyweight division after a crazy comeback win over UFC legend Derrick Lewis at UFC 271.
The Aussie is potentially one win away from earning a title shot after he knocked Lewis out cold with a staggering elbow strike in the second round.
His finish saw Lewis wobble on wonky legs before he crashed forwards in an ugly face plant.
Aussie booed out the Octagon
Australian Casey O’Neill has pulled off the biggest win of her career after sending Roxanne Modafferi into retirement with a defeat.
O’Neill won via a split decision after a three-round war which was heated from the start with O’Neill choosing not to touch gloves at the start of the first round.
When given a chance to speak inside the Octagon after the fight result was made official, O’Neill was booed by the crowd.
She could be heard saying: “If you want me to be the bad guy, then f*** you, I’ll be the f***ing bad guy,” she said.
O’Neill had earlier said the torch had already been passed to her from Modafferi, adding that she didn’t care it was her opponent’s final fight. The crowd responded to her behaviour in brutal fashion.
‘That is crazy’: UFC moment blows minds
The explosive start to the UFC undercard has continued with another insane comeback stoppage from bantamweight Douglas Silva de Andrade.
Silva de Andrade had taken a beating in the opening round with two of the three judges giving his opponent Sergey Morozov a 10-8 dominant round score as the fight went into the second round.
However, the fight was brutally turned on its head in the second round and Silva de Andrade finished the fight off by making Morozov tap late in the round.
The incredible turnaround left UFC commentators stunned.
“That is crazy,” UFC legend Daniel Cormier said in commentary for ESPN.
ESPN MMA journalist Ariel Helwani posted on Twitter: “I mean, this is just the craziest sport. What a wild fight”.
UFC hype-machine’s brutal wake up call
The UFC world was eagerly awaiting the debut of Zimbabwean-born New Zealander Mike Mathetha, who has secured worldwide attention with his “Blood Diamond” stage name.
But the hype deflated almost instantly as Mathetha was brutally choked unconscious by Jeremiah Wells on the preliminary undercard.
Veteran UFC journalist Damon Martin speculated in a Twitter post that Mathetha may have been rushed into such a high profile fight simply because of his teammate connection to Adesanya.
“Jeremiah Well gives Blood Diamond a rude welcome to the octagon by choking him unconscious with a rear-naked choke in the first round,” Martin posted.
“Everyone advances as their own speed so there’s no right or wrong amount of fights but that being said, it felt like he got a look largely being Adesanya’s teammate.”
Blood Diamond showed some tough defence when taken down, but was ultimately easily submitted in the first round.
“I seen his eyes go back,” Wells said inside the Octagon.
“The choke was in.”
‘F*** the noise’: Joe Rogan’s UFC snub
Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title this weekend – but commentator Joe Rogan won’t be there to witness it.
The 32-year-old Adesanya will take on Robert Whittaker at UFC 271, but controversial figure Rogan will not be in attendance due to a “scheduling conflict”.
According to TSN Sports, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping will commentate the highly-anticipated bout alongside John Anik and Daniel Cormier.
Anik also served as MC at the ceremonial weigh-in on Saturday, a role Rogan usually fulfils.
Rogan has copped intense backlash over the past few weeks for spreading “misinformation” about the Covid-19 pandemic on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
UFC boss Dana White was asked about Rogan at a press conference on Friday, but Adesanya quickly intervened.
“I’m black, I can take this one,” he said.
“There’s a lot of c***s in this game, there’s a lot of snakes in this game.
“I’ve been in this fight game since 2008 and Joe Rogan is one of the nicest, coolest, humble motherf***ers I’ve had the pleasure of working with, understand that.
“F*** the noise, you know what they’re trying to do, you can’t control them, man, and he’s got the biggest platform in the world right now so that’s my n***** Joe Rogan, f*** the noise, just keep doing you Joe, have some mushrooms.”
The last time Adesanya and Whittaker faced off in the Octagon, he claimed a second-round KO victory at Marvel Stadium in October 2019.
The action at Houston’s Toyota Centre kicks off at 10am AEDT, but the main card doesn’t get underway until at least 2pm. Don’t expect to see Adesanya and Whittaker in the Octagon until around 3.30pm.
You can watch UFC 271 on Main Event, while the prelims will be streamed on Kayo.
UFC 271 card results
Israel Adesanya (c) vs Robert Whittaker – middleweight title
Tai Tuivasa defeated Derrick Lewis via KO, Round 2
Jared Cannonier defeated Derek Brunson via TKO, Round 2
Bobby Green defeated Nasrat Haqparast via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Renato Moicano defeated Alexander Hernandez via TKO (rear naked choke), Round 2
Andrei Arlovski defeated Jared Vanderaa via split decision (29-18 x2, 28-29)
Casey O’Neill defeated Roxanne Modafferi via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
Kyler Phillips defeated Marcelo Rojo via submission, Round 3
Carlos Ulberg defeated Fabio Cherant via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Early preliminary card
Maxim Grishin defeated William Knight via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Ronnie Lawrence defeated Leomana Martinez via unanimous decision (29-27 x2, 29-28)
Jacob Malkoun defeated AJ Dobson via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Douglas Silva de Andrade defeated Sergey Morozov — TKO (rear naked choke), Round 2
Jeremiah Wells defeated Mike Mathetha — TKO (rear naked choke), Round 1