The Conway UFC Predictions: Whittaker vs Adesanya
By Alex Conway
There is a high likelihood that the largest crowd in UFC history will be set Saturday night when Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya meet in the cage to unify the UFC middleweight title.
What we have is a fight between two of the best from that region, Whittaker from Australia and Adesanya from New Zealand. The Marvel Stadium will have over 50,000 on hand to witness what could be on paper the best middleweight title fight in UFC history.
Whittaker vs. Adesanya Prediction
The sexier pick here is Adesanya. He’s got the flashier style, talks a big game and quite frankly will be viewed as a striking pioneer once his career is over. People will be attempting replicate his stance switching techniques and precise feinting long after he’s gone.
Whittaker has a much more meat and potatoes type of game, mixed in with explosive ham hoofs for fists that can put someone’s lights out in an instant. He’s also a fairly credentialed grappler, having made the Australian national team in wrestling, considering that doesn’t come from a grappling background or a part of the world known for its wrestling prowess.
The other dynamic here is that both fighters are in their prime. It’s rarer that fighters make it to a title fight of this magnitude at the exact moment in their careers that they are supposed to.
The most recent example of this might be when Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier met for the first time, except even then Cormier was in his late 30’s.
Whittaker is 29 and Adesanya is 30. Whittaker is an established MMA veteran with loads of UFC experience while Adesanya has set a blistering pace in less than two years of being a UFC fighter. Both fighters last fights were all out, drag down barn burners that barely saw each man leave victorious.
There are some who believe we will see Whittaker go for more takedowns in this last fight than we’ve ever seen in his past performances. We’ve heard his coaches compare him to a better version of Georges St-Pierre, an interesting claim considering he’s done nothing in his fights to draw that comparison. Maybe they are tipping their hand here?
Adesanya is long, rangy and throws creatively and at his own pace. He’s been able to dictate the type of fight he wants to be in almost every fight except his last one against Gastelum. That Gastelum fight should be the blueprint, with minor adjustments, that leads Whittaker to victory.
Whittaker is more than capable of winning here. He’s also hittable. He needs to get in Adesanya’s face and push the pace. If not, if he stares, he’s gone. If he’s the one creating striking exchanges instead of trying to read Adesanya’s feints, he can get inside and either initiate grappling exchanges or clinch strikes.
I don’t think any of that will be enough. This feels like a star-making stage set for the sport’s next big thing, Israel Adesanya.
I’m going with Adesanya to win a five-round classic unanimous decision.