Robert Whittaker Coach Hypes Up UFC 243 Bout With Israel Adesanya
UFC 243 will see two of the UFC’s best strikers, Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, go head to head for the Middleweight title. However, according to his coach, Robert may not need to rely on that striking to win.
The title unification bout between Whittaker and Adesanya is one of the most highly anticipated bouts of 2019. Adesanya is coming off a fight of the year candidate against Kelvin Gastelum, for the interim belt. On the other hand, undisputed champ Whittaker is looking to rebound from injury, which resulted in the interim title.
Both Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya are looked at as some of the best strikers in the world. However, going into this fight, it is the general consensus that Adesanya is the superior striker of the two. According to his BJJ coach Alex Prates, Whittaker may look to take a different approach to the contest.
Prates spoke in an interview with MMAFighting, leading up to the fight. Here he discussed how Robert Whittaker could look to apply a different style than normal. Additionally, he makes a pretty bold comparison of his fighter.
“Maybe you’ll see Robert Whittaker using a style that I think is the one that suits him better but he never really needed it because it was always comfortable for him on the feet for most of his fights. With Yoel Romero, for example, it would have been stupid to try to take him down. But Robert has great wrestling and great timing. I honestly think Robert is a better version of GSP. And we might see this now”
In addition to comparing Whittaker to Georges St. Pierre, Prates also explains how this strategy could play to their advantages at UFC 243.
“If Adesanya dictates the rhythm of the fight the way he likes to do, like he did against Anderson Silva, it’s going to be a good fight for him and he will probably win by decision,” Prates said. “Now, if Robert takes that away from him, his ability to dictate the pace, it will be bad for him. If they grapple, if there’s a bit of mixed martial arts in the fight, a bit of wrestling and striking, Robert won’t get tired.
He goes on to explain that Whittaker has proved by now that he is on the same level of striking as Adesanya. However, Prates says that Whittaker does not necessarily need to wrestle.
“The main difference of Robert using his wrestling and ground game with Israel is that he doesn’t depend on the ground, if that makes sense. He can take Israel to the ground, but if Israel starts to scramble and gets back up, he doesn’t need to spend energy there. Let him get back up. That’s the difference from a jiu-jitsu fighter or a wrestler that depends on keeping him on the ground. That might get Israel worried about the takedowns as well, which makes it easier to land combinations on the feet. And also get him tired.”
UFC 243 takes place at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, on October 5th. The bout between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya is the headlining act. it will be exciting to see if Whittaker holds up to his coach’s assessment.