Israel Adesanya‘s win over Robert Whittaker topped the marquee of UFC 271 on February 12th. Their second clash for the middleweight strap emanated from Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
During The AllStar MMA Live show, Dan Hooker spoke about his City Kickboxing compatriot following this latest title defense.
Israel Adesanya’s win over Robert Whittaker
Hooker addressed the general rule of thumb in combat sports related to rematches. An adage where you don’t enter the sequel unless you foresee yourself outdoing the initial performance.
A challenge Adesanya very much faced in the wake of such a dominant performance in the first Whittaker fight.
Izzy’s leg kicks were a big variable in this rematch. As the movement and fluidity of wrestling ability with the challenger were seemingly compromised at times throughout.
“You’ll just see him tap them out there. I guess people just assume he’s trying to score points with those kinds of low kicks. Just touch, touch. But he’s got a heavy low kick. This is a guy with like a hundred kickboxing fights. He’s not throwing leg kicks just to score points. He’s got a trickily sharp shin.”
The growth in Adesanya’s anti-wrestling was another noticeable facet for Hooker here. Someone who is acutely aware of the grinding day-to-day rounds The Last Stylebender has dedicated to grappling refinement.
“Hangman” made sure to credit Whittaker’s savviness and the incredible timing of the former UFC champion’s wrestling efforts.
A pugilistic pursuit that paid dividends at certain points through the full 25 minutes of a title bout. With Whittaker doggedly looking to regain his crown but alas it was not enough.
Even though Dana White was not interested in the third fight, Hooker is more open than most about seeing Adesanya and Whittaker face off again.
“I feel like he’s only one or two wins away from….after a performance like that. Even though I don’t think he won, I feel like it showed much improvement and would definitely give people a lot of confidence in seeing a third fight does he win another couple of fights and get back in the mix without a doubt.”
The Killa Gorilla Is Next
Earlier on in the evening, another high-level middleweight managed to shine inside the cage.
Jared Cannonier not only halted a highly ranked middleweight in Derek Brunson but expressly called for a title shot directed towards Dana White during the post-fight interview portion.
Many see the Killa Gorilla as the next in line for a 185-pound title shot. Hooker can be counted as one of those people.
“That’s how you get the job done. Because now that soundbite travels everywhere. Everyone watching the show to watch Israel [Adesanya] in the main event goes, this guy had an impressive performance. And he said his name, this guy’s next. Yeah, so as far as I’m concerned that fight makes the most sense for the next title shot. Without a doubt.”
What are your feelings on Dan Hooker’s insights regarding Israel Adesanya’s win over Robert Whittaker?