Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya react to former opponent’s record setting UFC win

Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya both reacted to Jared Cannonier’s UFC main event win against Marvin Vettori.

By: Kristen King | 3 months ago
Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya react to former opponent’s record setting UFC win
IMAGO / Zuma Wire / Louis Grasse

Having shared the Octagon with Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, both Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker were impressed with their ‘Fight of the Night’ showing at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier this past Saturday. After getting hurt early, the ‘Killa Gorilla’ went off on the ‘Italian Dream’ throughout the following four rounds which left Vettori bloodied and battered. Cannonier swept the judges’ scorecards, defeating Vettori via unanimous decision in one of the most historic performances in the Octagon. 

Robert Whittaker blown away by Jared Cannonier‘s win

When the event ended, it was revealed that Jared Cannonier had etched his name in history by setting the record for the most significant strikes landed in a single UFC middleweight fight at 241, per the official UFC stats. As expected, fans and fighters, including one of his former opponents in Robert Whittaker, were thoroughly impressed with his performance. 

“I picked Cannonier to win this fight, right? But I didn’t pick this Cannonier,” said Whittaker on the ESPN UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier post-fight show. “I didn’t envision seeing this pressure fighter Cannonier, who just crowds and closes that gap [against Vettori]. You saw during the fight, Cannonier had a hold of Marvin’s hand a lot of the time because he was that close. 

“I didn’t pick him coming out with this approach, but it obviously worked to great effect,” continued Whittaker. 

Whittaker praises Marvin Vettori‘s toughness

Aside from the historic performance from Cannonier, another storyline that emerged from the most recent UFC Fight Night was the toughness of Vettori. Throughout his UFC tenure, the Italian has gained a reputation for being one of the toughest fighters to finish. 

Names such as Israel Adesanya, Paulo Costa, Robert Whittaker and now Cannonier, have tried to get Vettori out of the Octagon, all to no avail. 

“Hats off to both guys,” said Whittaker. “That fight was absolutely incredible. One of the better middleweight fights I’ve seen in a long, long time. Vettori, what do you have to do to put him away? I tried my best, and a lot of other people have tried their best, and now Cannonier gave him five [rounds] of record-breaking significant strikes. He’s made of something else.”

Israel Adesanya also responds to record setting win

It wasn’t just Whittaker, as UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya also had a pretty short reaction to the bout between his two former opponents.

Jared Cannonier discusses his next options

Now on a two-fight win streak, Jared Cannonier says he has two options to consider for his next fight. He either wants another championship opportunity against Israel Adesanya or another potential No. 1 contender with someone ranked ahead of him. 

Assuming he leaps Marvin Vettori in the rankings when they update, Cannonier would sit at No. 3 behind Robert Whittaker, Alex Pereira and Israel Adesanya. ‘Po Atan’ is ruled out since he is leaving the division, which leaves the ‘Reaper’ and the ‘Last Stylebender.’ Whittaker is currently scheduled for his own No. 1 contender against Dricus Du Plessis at UFC 290, with the winner expected to get the next shot at Adesanya.

Not sure of where that leaves him for now, Cannonier hopes his name is among the next options the UFC may go with for Israel Adesanya. 

“The way I see the immediate future going is Robert is going to fight Dricus, I know Israel wants to fight Dricus so bad, but I feel with my performance, as far as the guys who make that decision go, I’m sure that puts my name well up there in that area,” said Cannonier at his post-fight press conference.

“I’m not really concerning myself with what may or may not be,” continued Cannonier. “I’m just going to focus on the next fight. I’m going to get back in the gym and get back to making myself better, get back to improving on my skills and worry about the next fight.”

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About the author
Kristen King
Kristen King

Kristen King is a writer for Bloody Elbow. She has covered combat sports since 2016, getting her start with outlets such as FanSided, MyMMANews and MMA-Prospects. She joined the BE team in 2020, covering a mix of news, events and injuries. In her time with BE, Kristen has created ‘Fright of the Night,’ a series that highlights some of the worst injuries in the sport.

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