Exclusive: Laura Sanko Breaks Down UFC 271, Expects A ‘More Calculated’ Robert Whittaker

UFC analyst Laura Sanko previews Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2.

Laura Sanko Ufc271
Laura Sanko Ufc271

UFC analyst and broadcaster Laura Sanko has a lot to say about the main event of UFC 271.

The Lone Star State will feature a highly-anticipated rematch between UFC Champ Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. The two best middleweights in the world actually meet this weekend in what looks to be fireworks. 

Sanko Breaks It Down, Starting With The First Fight

The fight has got everybody excited including Laura Sanko. Sanko would dive into the grand rubber match before it takes place on Saturday.

The biggest thing we’re going to see and it’s not rocket science is, is a big shift in the overall strategy from Robert Whitaker,” Sanko told MiddleEasy. “In the lead up to this fight about how emotional he got and, and how could you not, right? Was it like almost 70,000 people?…  It was a record breaking crowd in his home country he’s representing.

“I think it’s really difficult for people who haven’t fought and even I who have fought, I haven’t fought even remotely close to that level. I think it’s really difficult for us to comprehend the amount of pressure. So he got emotional. He got a bit in his head and we watched that fight. It’s pretty clear. He’s just continuing to lunge forward at Adesanya and that is exactly how Israel Adesanya fights best. Every fight you go back and watch, you see a signature performance from Adesanya, [it] is because his opponent is being the aggressor. His opponent is the one closing the distance.”

The Wrestling

Since the first fight, Whittaker has shown massive improvements in his overall game. Once again a contender, ‘The Reaper’ would reap three straight wins to make him the undeniable #1 contender. Seeing his last performances, Sanko believes Whittaker 2.0 is gonna be hard to handle. 

“I think we’re going to see a much more calculated Robert Whitaker. He’s either going to play in his own counter range, uh, which is also on the outside for Whitaker’s range. I do think we might see him mixing the wrestling at the right moments. In the Gastelum fight, we saw Robert start to use his wrestling really for, I’m not gonna say the first time he shot before, but the first time somewhat consistently, and even that he wasn’t using it that much in a fight. Robert Whitaker has phenomenal wrestling and he was selected to represent Australia in the Commonwealth games back in 2018, I believe it was just didn’t end up doing it. He has an incredibly high level of freestyle wrestling. He just never uses it.

Why he doesn’t? That’s a great question,” Sanko continued. “Part of it is because he has had so much success with the striking. So why, why broke? Why change it if it’s not broken? So, but I think in the Israel out of Sonia fight, when you look at how Yom will have it to beat Israel out of Sonia, and then you couple in the fact that Robert winter has never really truly tested his wrestling against Israel out of Sonia. I think that we will see some of that start to enter the picture, whether Whitaker can be as physical as Yom I think is really the question that we’re going to get answered.”

However, seeing as how there’s vast differences between Jan Blachowicz and Whittaker, Sanko doesn’t think it’ll be as easy for the Aussie.

“My tendency is to think not, because Whittaker are used to be a welterweight and Jan Blachowiz is a big, big Polish boy.”

What Do You Think Of Laura Sanko’s Analysis?

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