Former UFC middleweight champion Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker (25-6 MMA, 15-4 UFC) is making his case for being the perfect primary contender of all time. Earlier this month at UFC Paris, he defended his spot for the fourth time in two years.
Whittaker was flawless in a unanimous determination victory over the #3 ranked Marvin Vettori. After a detailed first spherical, he used his entrance kick to the physique to maintain the gap, which led to quite a few head kicks and peppering proper fingers. Certainly one of his head kicks momentarily wobbled the iron chinned Vettori.
The fan-favorite as soon as once more proved true the lyrics of his iconic walkout tune “Can’t Be Touched” by Roy Jones Jr, as he dodged most of Vettori’s assaults by way of his “transfer in and transfer out” type. The Paris crowd roared his identify, and he acquired worldwide reward for an additional grasp class efficiency. Even Dillon Danis complimented the Aussie in a now-deleted tweet.
Inside his victory, Whittaker improved his UFC takedown protection to 84 % and his vital strikes landed per minute to 4.48. He’s now 6-0 in opposition to the division’s high 15, along with his solely losses within the final eight years coming to champion Israel Adesanya. This has led him to turn out to be a top-three middleweight in UFC historical past, solely behind Adesanya and Anderson Silva.
“The Reaper” has proved there’s a enormous hole between the champion, himself, and the remainder of the division. Listed below are three choices of who he may struggle subsequent:
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6 Paulo Costa
The 2 had been imagined to struggle final April; nonetheless, Costa pulled out. He’s coming off a victory over former champion Luke Rockhold. Given his attain drawback and the way he will get hit incessantly, it seems that Whittaker will decide him other than the surface and frustrate him. A win over Costa ought to earn one other title shot.
8 Jack Hermansson if he defeats #5, Derek Brunson in December
Whittaker has already overwhelmed a majority of the division’s high 5. Hermansson will enter the highest 5 with an upset over Brunson. Whittaker has not confronted him but and might have him make a fast turnaround and struggle on the rumored Australia card within the first quarter of 2023.
The Winner of Adesanya and Alex Pereira
If Adesanya defends his belt, there shall be no clear #1 contender apart from Whittaker. If Pereira wins and doesn’t give Adesanya a direct rematch, Whittaker could possibly be subsequent. He may dominate him on the bottom if he avoids getting hit by Pereira’s fists of dynamite.
For now, the one factor on “The Reaper’s” thoughts is the French bakeries and Christmas. Bon Appetit!
Anik Subramanian is an aspiring MMA journalist primarily based in the USA. He found his ardour for MMA when the game was the primary to return to reside motion in the course of the pandemic. He’s additionally a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has been a lifelong sports activities fan.
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