Robert Whittaker, currently the second-best middleweight in the UFC’s 185-pound division, faces uncertainty regarding the interest in a third fight against reigning champion Israel Adesanya, given his two previous losses to him. Whittaker’s upcoming bout against Dricus Du Plessis is considered a No. 1 contender’s fight, with the winner expected to challenge Adesanya in September. Adesanya’s preference for Du Plessis may be driven by personal animosity, but the appeal of a rematch against Whittaker diminishes with each defeat.
Veteran UFC analyst Alan Jouban emphasizes that Whittaker must deliver an outstanding performance against Du Plessis. Whittaker needs to not only secure the title shot but also convince fans that he stands a better chance against Adesanya this time, having already fallen to him twice. Jouban suggests that Whittaker needs to dominate his opponent in a spectacular fashion and create compelling soundbites. While Jouban acknowledges Whittaker’s skill and praises him, he questions whether a fight against Whittaker is what people truly desire, and suggests alternatives like Sean Strickland. However, Jouban contends that Whittaker deserves the opportunity, but it requires generating excitement through a dominant win and effective promotion.
Whittaker, known for his composed demeanor, may find it out of character to launch a verbal attack on Adesanya. Nevertheless, Jouban argues that merely winning a one-sided decision over Du Plessis may not generate sufficient enthusiasm for a third fight between Whittaker and Adesanya.
Jouban hopes that Whittaker, if victorious, will seize the opportunity on Saturday to advocate for the Adesanya trilogy. Even if Whittaker were to falsely assert that he possesses the winning formula, Jouban suggests that he needs to make believers out of the fans, including himself, by assuring them that the upcoming fight will be entirely different from their previous encounters. Jouban emphasizes the importance of Whittaker’s performance and convincing fans that the fight is worth anticipating.
Regarding the fight itself, Jouban expresses confidence in Whittaker’s ability to defeat Du Plessis convincingly and capture Adesanya’s attention. Jouban highlights Du Plessis’ aggressive striking style, which leaves him vulnerable to Whittaker’s counterattacks, where the latter excels.
If Whittaker accomplishes the desired outcome, combines it with an emphatic callout, and displays a captivating fighting style, Jouban believes it would be sufficient to create excitement for another bout with Adesanya. Given Whittaker’s long gap since his last UFC finish, Jouban suggests that now is the opportune moment to seize the spotlight and secure a title shot.
Jouban emphasizes that Whittaker cannot afford to let the fight go the distance and must prove himself on Saturday night while also delivering a compelling post-fight speech to generate interest.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Middleweight division
What is the significance of Robert Whittaker’s upcoming fight against Dricus Du Plessis?
The fight between Robert Whittaker and Dricus Du Plessis holds significance as it is considered a No. 1 contender’s fight in the UFC’s middleweight division. The winner of this bout is expected to face reigning champion Israel Adesanya in a title fight later in September.
Why does Alan Jouban believe Robert Whittaker needs to make a statement in this fight?
Alan Jouban believes Whittaker needs to stand out and make a statement in this fight against Du Plessis for several reasons. Firstly, Whittaker has previously lost twice to Adesanya, which may dampen the enthusiasm for a third fight. Secondly, to secure the title shot and convince fans, Whittaker needs to deliver an outstanding performance and generate excitement around the potential rematch.
How does Alan Jouban think Whittaker can generate interest in an Adesanya trilogy?
According to Alan Jouban, Whittaker needs to not only dominate his opponent but also utilize effective promotion techniques. Jouban suggests Whittaker should aim for a decisive victory, create compelling soundbites, and potentially engage in some trash talk to sell the fight and garner interest from fans.
Why does Alan Jouban think Whittaker’s performance and promotion are crucial?
Jouban believes that Whittaker’s performance against Du Plessis must be exceptional to showcase his skills and prove that he has what it takes to defeat Adesanya. Additionally, effective promotion is necessary to generate excitement and convince fans that the third fight will be significantly different from their previous encounters.
What are Jouban’s thoughts on Whittaker’s chances against Du Plessis?
Jouban expresses confidence in Whittaker’s abilities and believes he has a high chance of defeating Du Plessis. Jouban highlights Du Plessis’ aggressive style, which may create opportunities for Whittaker to counter and potentially secure an early finish.
How long has it been since Whittaker last earned a finish in the UFC?
Whittaker has not earned a finish in the UFC for over six years. This makes the upcoming fight an ideal opportunity for him to showcase his finishing skills and make a lasting impression.
How can Whittaker seize the moment and secure a title shot?
According to Jouban, Whittaker needs to deliver a dominant performance, avoid letting the fight go the distance, and make a compelling post-fight speech. By doing so, Whittaker can capture the attention of fans, create excitement for a potential rematch with Adesanya, and increase his chances of securing a title shot.