Robert Whittaker is widely recognized as one of the greatest middleweights in history. Aside from two losses against Israel Adesanya, Whittaker remains unbeaten at 185 pounds with unanimous decision victories over Marvin Vettori and Kelvin Gastelum – with South African number five ranked contender Dricus Du Plessis set for another title eliminator bout this weekend at UFC 290.
Du Plessis exudes star quality in both appearance and game. At 29 years old, this veteran of mixed martial arts holds an 18-2 professional record with 18 finishes – 10 submissions. In the Octagon, Du Plessis’ well-rounded skill set includes excellent grappling and powerful striking. Du Plessis averages 6.72 significant strikes per minute against his opponents’ efforts and blocks 53% of significant strike attempts directed against him.
Du Plessis recently won his latest fight by TKO versus Derek Brunson to continue his climb up the rankings. This South African MMA fighter is known for taking hard hits while holding off against opponents to score points; landing 6.72 significant strikes per minute while also averaging 2.83 takedowns within one fight.
Du Plessis would jump up two spots in the middleweight rankings if he defeated Whittaker, becoming number three and likely facing Adesanya after that win.
Whittaker has had an impressive unbeaten streak to this point; however, against Du Plessis he will face one of his toughest tests yet. Du Plessis has experienced significant career growth over time and will prove difficult for Whittaker to beat.
Israel Adesanya’s knockout victory might have cost Whittaker the title, but that didn’t deter him from rising through the ranks again and delivering “Stylebender” a fierce battle in the rematch. Not much time has passed since the second match, yet Whittaker appears to be just one victory away from a 3rd chance.
Du Plessis now has an opportunity to demonstrate his ability against some of the best fighters in his division and solidify himself as a top contender for a title shot. Should he prevail at Las Vegas, it will cement himself as a serious challenger for an eventual shot at gold.
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Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis Fight Information
- Date: 07/08/2023
- Time: 11:00 PM ET
- Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada.
- How to Watch Robert Whittaker vs Dricus Du Plessis: ESPN+
- Live Stream: BT Sport.com