Robert Whittaker cited the reason for the defeat of Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya’s failed performance that cost him the UFC middleweight title is entirely the fault of Sean Strickland, according to former division champion Robert Whittaker.

“I saw a lot of things that said Izzy wasn’t himself,” the Australian said on another edition of the MMArcade podcast. “But I don’t think it was him – he looked like that because Shawn made him look like that. Izzy didn’t have the space to land his tricky leg kicks. Shawn took away his space and his ability to have his usual game of dodges and kicks – he just didn’t give him a chance.”

In Whittaker’s opinion, the punch at the end of the first round that knocked Adesanya down determined the course of the rest of the fight.

“Shawn was in his face from the first second and that punch in the first round incredibly boosted his confidence and Izzy on the contrary doubted his abilities. You need that uncertainty in your opponent and it set the stage for the next four rounds, which I think Sean won quite easily”

Last weekend at UFC 293 in Sydney, Sean Strickland, coming into the title fight a six-time underdog, sensationally defeated Israel Adesanya by unanimous 49-46 three-round decision to become the new UFC middleweight champion.

At the post-event press conference, UFC president, Dana White, stated that the Nigerian looked slowed down, suggesting an injury, and also promised that Adesanya would get an immediate rematch.