Madden on the battle of fight IQ:
“This one is in Houston. It’s not in [Whittaker]’s backyard. It’s not in Australia. It’s on netrual ground now. I do think that could be a big help for him this time around. The other thing is, yes you lost the first fight, you did get knocked out but you’ve already been in there with this guy for a round and a half. And sometimes that can be helpful too. You’ve already felt someone’s strength, you’ve already felt someone’s size. You’re not quite in the dark on what this matchup feels like. Robert Whittaker is 100% championship material. He’s got a fantastic group of coaches around him. I would fully trust that camp to make the adjustments necessary to be smarter tactically in this fight.
“Last fight was seven and a half minutes long. Inside that seven and a half minutes [Adesanya] made some really, really good tactical adjustments to what Robert was doing in that short amount of time. His fight IQ is one of the best in the game. If you can make reads that quickly and make those adjustments and capitalize, your fight IQ is really, really strong.
“If I was in Whittaker’s corner, I think maybe starting a little bit slower. I think attacking and kicking a little bit more. Kicking at the leg of Izzy and maybe doing a little bit more body work early on could be helpful. If I remember the first fight correctly, Robert was blitzing in quite a bit to get inside and boxing. Rushing forward and that’s how Izzy ended up catching him with that counter hook, that check hook that he throws. And he caught him in the pocket with that.
“At the end of the day, it’s five rounds. Everyone wants to finish the fight of course but you have plenty of time to lay some ground work in a five round fight and set some traps. So I would imagine that we’re gonna see a little more of a tactical and methodical approach by Whittaker in the early rounds of this fight that may set up something later in the fight.”