Since losing his belt to champion Israel Adesanya in October, 2019, Whittaker came back with a decisive unanimous decision win over #6 ranked Darren Till.
Cannonier on the other hand has won 3 straight fights since moving down to middleweight, with 3 KO/TKOs over the experienced David Branch, legend Anderson Silva and #4 ranked Jack Hermansson.
What the champ wants…
After defending his belt with a dominant TKO win over #3 ranked Paulo Costa last month, middleweight king Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya said that he had already messaged Cannonier saying: “You destroy Robert Whittaker, and you’re next (for the title).”
Adesanya had also mentioned that he has been impressed with Cannonier since “The Killa Gorilla’s” move to middleweight and would prefer Cannonier to win so he can get a “fresh body” having already finished Whittaker last year.
What the UFC wants…
Cannonier winning on Saturday will also make for a more marketable title fight in the future for the UFC, because the fans have already seen Adesanya finish Whittaker. Selling a rematch between Adesanya and Whittaker, with the last fight being clearly one-sided would be tough for the promotion and they are looking for new challenges for the ever popular champion.
What could happen…
Now, although Whittaker opens up as the even money underdog, I like his chances against the favorite Cannonier. Whittaker is a more versatile fighter than Cannonier and has had far tougher competition in his career, especially at middleweight.
He has been in title fights, title eliminators and absolute wars over the years, most of which he has come out on top. Cannonier on the other hand has the power and skill to finish any fight, but lacks the versatility and the level of experience that Whittaker does. Also, Whittaker has fought and defeated powerful opponents such as Yoel Romero and Jacare Souza in the past. It would be great for most people involved with the UFC not named Whittaker if Cannonier wins this Saturday.
This fight is going to be fireworks from start to finish and I cannot wait to see how this one plays out.