Morning Report: Robert Whittaker suggests Israel Adesanya’s knockout loss to Alex Pereira could ‘free him up’ for rematch


Robert Whittaker thinks Israel Adesanya’s second knockout loss to Alex Pereira could take some pressure off the former champion for their rematch. It could even add more pressure.

Pereira and Adesanya share a rich history of combat sports. Pereira beat Adesanya twice in kickboxing. The second was by a devastating knockout. That pair of fights led to Pereira getting fast-tracked to Adesanya in MMA, where at UFC 281, it happened again. Pereira scored a fifth-round comeback TKO over “The Last Stylebender” in one of the best fights of 2022, and even Whittaker, who has his own history with Adesanya, was left impressed.

“They’re phenomenal fighters,” Whittaker told Michael Bisping on his Believe You Me podcast. It was just the level of skill that made this fight so special. I expected to see that sort of fight, which was more or less a kickboxing match with small gloves, with a little dash of MMA thrown in. It was a little bit, but not much. And that’s what we got, of the highest caliber. It truly was a really good fight to watch. Pereira fought through hardship in round one. You could see the fight drag on. Then, Pereira was able to land shots and the fighters began to improve. I honestly left the fight without even watching the first round. It was an entertaining fight, but it left me feeling that these guys were absolute beasts in this division.

Given Adesanya’s long reign as middleweight champion, the UFC has opted to move forward with an immediate rematch, which is set for UFC 287 on April 8. Now 0-3 against Pereira, Adesanya’s back is against the wall in this fight, and Whittaker wonders how that will affect the former champion, suggesting that it could elevate him to finally defeat Pereira.

” If we take a mental view of the fight, I think Adesanya has a better chance than last time,” Whittaker stated. Whittaker said that maybe the worst is over, which will allow him to be ready for the next fight. It can easily swing in both directions. It can either swing one way where it frees him up: the worst has happened, whatever, he gets in there mentally free. He may be worried that it will happen again, but he has already experienced it.

” He could have beaten him skill-wise the last time, but he was not as skilled.”

Fans won’t know what, if any, mental advantages either man has in the fight until the two top middleweights in the world collide in April. However, Whittaker does believe Pereira has one substantial physical advantage over Adesanya, and most other middleweights.

“That was the one thing I truly took away from that fight, is that Pereira’s a freaking giant,” Whittaker said, laughing. I don’t believe the cameras can do justice to how large Adesanya really is. Adesanya is a huge man, particularly when you are standing next to him. You’re always looking up him because he’s 6’4″, he’s a massive guy. Pereira was just as bone-like! His feet and hands were larger than his heads, while his head was bigger. He looked much bigger than Adesanya.”

Giant or not, Whittaker still wants to face him and, like Adesanya, would like another shot to defeat the man who seemingly has his number. Depending on what happens at UFC 287, “Bobby Knuckles” could find himself in position to challenge the winner of the fight, be it Pereira for the first time or Adesanya for the third, and when that happens, Whittaker believes he will finally reclaim the UFC middleweight title.

” I’m eager to reach both of them,” Whittaker stated. “I truly do feel that I can take myself to a new level. I feel that I can get in there and put on a better performance. I kind of understand where Adesanya was mentally, I guess, going into the rematch after losing twice to the same guy. Adesanya and I were in a similar situation. It was difficult for us both, but we did manage to get through it. The next fight will be the most important. But then, it is what it is. That fight is what I want. Mixed martial arts is something I believe I can do better than either of them. I believe that I have the ability to use my grappling and wrestling skills to create a hell of a match for them .”


Results. Ryan Bader knocked out Fedor Emelianenko for a second time in the legend’s final fight at Bellator 290.

Results. Serghei Spivac demolished Derrick Lewis at UFC Vegas 68.

Love. Dana White ensures Derrick Lewis ‘not going anywhere’ despite UFC slump: ‘I love the guy.’

TUF. Conor McGregor, Michael Chandler to coach TUF 31, clash later this year.

Prediction. Michael Chandler predicts second-round knockout of Conor McGregor: ‘That’s my Mystic Mike take.’

USADA. Conor McGregor has not reentered the UFC anti doping program. He will need six months to be tested before he can fight again.


Bellator 290 Post Show.

Reaction to Conor’s Return.

UFC 284 Countdown.

Chael Sun on hanging out at Fedor’s last fight.

Alexander Volkanovski bulking for UFC 284.

Paddy Pimblett goes back and talks with the woman whose yard his dog pooped in.


On To The Next One. Matches to make following Bellator 290 and UFC Vegas 68.


Dana White can’t remember his lightweight champion’s name.

This is one seriously dope suplex.

Conor is amused.

Dustin Poirier.


USADA thoughts.

Influencer boxing.


Cody Garbrandt (12-5) vs. Trevin Jones (13-9, 1 NC); UFC 285, March 4.

Michael Chiesa (18-6) vs. Li Jingliang (19-8); UFC 287, April 8.


Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow!


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