Aussie UFC star Robert Whittaker wins his second massive fight in three months

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Aussie UFC star Robert Whittaker wins his second massive fight in three months – setting up a likely rematch with Kiwi sensation Israel Adesanya
Robert Whittaker defeated Jared Cannonier in a unanimous decision at UFC 254
He has won five of his last six fights and wants another shot at Israel Adesanya
Adesanya took Whittaker’s middleweight title with a win in October last year
Western Sydney heavyweight Tai Tuivasa claimed a knockout victory on the card

Robert Whittaker has outclassed American Jared Cannonier to state his case for a rematch with UFC middleweight king Israel Adesanya.

In his second bout on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in three months, the Australian outworked Cannonier before dropping him in the third and final round to get a unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

‘I’m very happy,’ former world champion Whittaker said from the Octagon.

‘Obviously we got the result we wanted. It was a good fight, he’s a tough guy.’

In a technical striking showcase, the 29-year-old looked a level above Cannonier, who had not fought in more than a year after undergoing pectoral surgery.

His left jab continually peppered the American’s eye, although Cannonier landed some heavy leg kicks that left serious marks behind Whittaker’s knee.

After two fairly even rounds, Whittaker set up a combination that he capped off with a staggering head kick and Cannonier went down.

Whittaker stayed on top for more than two minutes before the American scrambled to his feet.

He threw everything at Whittaker to try to land a winning blow but the Australian was able to ride out the fight.

Whittaker has now won five of his last six fights and is seeking another shot at Kiwi Adesanya, who took his world title a year ago in Melbourne.

Before the fight UFC president Dana White said if Whittaker wins in a dominant fashion he would due for a rematch with the champ.

Adesanya crushed Whittaker in their hotly-anticipated UFC bout in two rounds at Docklands Stadium in October 2019.

‘The Reaper’ landed a solid hit to Adesanya’s face in the second round before his opponent walloped him on the chin and Whittaker suddenly went down.

Adesanya ran over and starting striking Whittaker’s head before referees ended the match and declared him the new champion of their middleweight division.

The Last Stylebender then defended his title against Brazilian fighter Paulo Costa in September, extending his undefeated record to 20 – 0.

While Whittaker is the number one challenger for Adesanya’s title, he had other plans in the works with his family first.

‘I’m going straight home and putting up my Christmas tree,’ Whittaker said. ‘I promised the kids, everyone’s stoked. That’s what’s happening.’

Western Sydney heavyweight Tai Tuivasa also took a victory on the card, with a brutal first round knockout of Stefan Struve of The Netherlands.

The former Sydney Roosters rugby league player ended his run of three losses to get back into the winners circle, stunning Struve with a big uppercut to take him down.

‘Oh f**k, it’s been a while bra. It’s good to be back,’ he said after the fight.

The 27-year-old jumped out of the octagon following his win to do a shoey, but was left high and dry.

‘I tried to do a shoey, but there’s no beer in here,’ he said.

In the main event UFC megastar Khabib Nurmagomedov retained his title with a win over Justin Gathje via triangle choke in the second round before announcing his shock retirement.

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