Robert Whittaker proved once more why he is the best contender in the Middleweight Division with a masterful performance that saw him defeat Marvin Vettori at the UFC Paris comain event.
Following a close opening round, Whittaker just took over with a devastating striking game that probably would have finished anybody else standing in the cage with him on Saturday but Vettori showed incredible durability to survive to the final horn. When it was over, Whittaker had clearly secured the win with the judges scoring the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 in his favor.
“I’m stoked with it,” Whittaker said about his performance. “All the respect to Vettori. He didn’t go away. I was hurting him. Trust me, I hit pretty hard and credit to him.”
With Vettori acting as the aggressor to start, Whittaker was playing counter fighter, which led to a hard right hand connecting flush on the chin of the one-time title challenger. Vettori tried to locate his range using a smooth straight left, but Whittaker was quickly able to get away before any further shots were taken.
In a razor-close opening round, Vettori closed with a well-timed knee to the body that caught Whittaker off guard just as the horn sounded.
Whittaker came right back at him to start the second as he connected with another stinging right hand followed by another combination that seemingly caught Vettori off guard. Whittaker’s key was increasing his output, which allowed him to catch Vettori more often.
Whittaker’s feints paid off as Vettori bit on the bait, before unleashing powerful punches and lightning fast head kicks.
Realizing Whittaker’s momentum was building, Vettori attempted to move forward to cut off the cage. But he couldn’t keep the ex-champion in front of his. Whittaker showed great speed as he unleashed powerful straight punches, followed by a head kick that hit Vettori in the skull.
Somehow, Vettori just kept eating the strikes but he was absorbing a lot of punishment on the feet as Whittaker was really settling into a rhythm with his confidence surging. Whittaker managed to get a takedown in the last round just to add luster on his performance.
The win keeps Whittaker at the top of the division and now he’ll keep a very close eye on the upcoming title fight between Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira, which headlines UFC 281 in November.
“Including the champion, I’m the most dangerous man in the division,” Whittaker declared. “I make people hate fighting. That top spot is what I strive for. I will always be there .”