Israel Adesanya is set to take on middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 243. It is expected to be one of the biggest fights of the year. It is also a super close fight on the betting lines as Bovada has “The Last Stylebender” as a +120 underdog while the champ being a -150 favorite.
However, they also match up well stylistically. Adesanya should have the advantage in the striking realm, and speaking at the UFC 243 press conference, he told his foe how to beat him.
“My advice is to shoot,” Adesanya said. “If he wants to get the work done, shoot. I mean, no one’s been able to do it. If he wants to stand with me, I like to stand and bang. Let me bang, bro. I’d advise him to keep me grounded come Oct. 6.”
No one has been able to test Israel Adesanya on the ground which is interesting. The only true wrestler he has faced is Derek Brunson at UFC 230 where the New Zealander knocked him out in the first. Meanwhile, against Kelvin Gastelum, he stuffed takedowns and got up when he was taken down.
Israel Adesanya is not impressed by Robert Whittaker’s last fights
While Adesanya had been finishing opponents, Robert Whittaker’s last two fights he went the distance with Yoel Romero. Although the Cuban is one of the most feared fighters in the middleweight division, Adesanya was not impressed by his performances.
“My last fight, I looked like a potato – I let the Mexican touch me a little bit,” Adesanya said. “His last fight, as well, with the Cuban, he got dropped a lot, got rocked a lot – and that’s a powerful man, an athletic man, an old man. But I’m young. I just turned 30. I’m in my prime right now, just started. He’s younger than me – I haven’t forgotten about that – but he gets touched a lot, and I’m a guy you don’t want to get touched by.”
“Ten rounds with Yoel Romero. You don’t need 10 rounds with a man. If you spend 10 rounds with one man, that’s five rounds too long. All you need is three, two or one. Understand that.”
Adesanya plans on attacking the body
Whittaker, meanwhile, is coming off of surgery on his stomach and asked whether or not he would attack the body, Adesanya was very blunt.
“I’m good at body shots,” Adesanya said. “Why wouldn’t I use them just because, oh he might have had a surgery, or whatever? I’m going to target everything. I don’t favor it. My hands don’t discriminate. I go for everything.”
Ultimately, Israel Adesanya is confident he will get his hand raised and become the undisputed middleweight champion at the end of the day.
“What do they say? Sweat more in training and bleed less in battle,” Adesanya said. “That’s the motto, and under those lights, I shine, man. Trust me. In the gym, I get my licks, (and) I give the licks back. But under those lights, I always shine and this will be no different.”
If he does just that, it will be a dream come true and longtime coming for the undefeated star, Israel Adesanya.
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The Scrap’s Cole Shelton is a full-time MMA writer for various news outlets. Make sure to follow Cole on Twitter (@ColeShelton91) for a variety of content.