Israel Adesanya will return to action on February 12th at UFC 271 at The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, and will face a familiar foe in Robert Whittaker. The bout was announced by the promotion via Twitter.
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐑𝐄𝐌𝐀𝐓𝐂𝐇 𝐈𝐒 𝐎𝐍.
🇳🇬 @Stylebender vs 🇦🇺 @RobWhittakerMMA
[ #UFC271 | Feb 12 🔗https://t.co/ZrnO8qg7XH | @ToyotaCenter ] pic.twitter.com/dpW4jUTVWQ
— UFC (@ufc) December 12, 2021
The rematch between UFC Middleweight champion and a former titleholder has been over two years in the making since their first meeting, which took place on October 6th of 2019 at UFC 243. Whittaker was setting the pace for almost full five minutes and Adesanya started to strike back in the latter part of the first round. In the second round, Adesanya toughed out Whittaker’s barrage of punches and countered with his own combination to send his champion to the ring canvas. ‘The Last Stylebender’ ended Whittaker’s nine-fight winning streak and became UFC Middleweight champion.
Since then Adesanya extended his winning streak to 20 wins in the row by defeating Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa and made his light heavyweight debut in an unsuccessful attempt to dethrone the then champion, Jan Błachowicz, which was his first and only loss in MMA. He later returned to his winning way by defeating Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 in which was his third Middleweight title defense.
Whitaker also has bounced back from a loss to the reigning champion. He has defeated Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kevin Gastelum in succession and he’s now riding a three-fight winning streak, giving him momentum that he will surely need if he thinks about regaining a champion’s status.