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UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker thinks Israel Adesanya will beat Kelvin Gastelum, but he doesn’t think the Nigerian-born New Zealander is all he is cracked up to be. His criticisms have some depth, too. Via BloodyElbow.com:
“I think that Adesanya isn’t as good as he thinks he is,” Whittaker said on his own podcast, Grange TV (h/t Jed Meshew of MMA Fighting). “I think he’s very good - very, very good - and I have a lot of respect for his skillset, 100 percent. He’s a dangerous guy. But I don’t think the pedestal that he’s on is as high as everyone else thinks it is, as he thinks it is. I think his fight with Anderson Silva was the first time his stand-up capabilities were put to the test with someone with similar stand-up capabilities. . .
“I don’t think Adesanya’s striking is as good as he believes. it is. It’s very good. I’m not saying his striking is bad, it’s very, very good - but I just don’t think it’s as good as he thinks it is. The times Adesanya’s looked very good is against people that don’t have the greatest striking.”
Adesanya beat Anderson Silva over three rounds in the main event of UFC 234, after Whittaker was forced into emergency surgery on the day of his scheduled headliner against Kelvin Gastelum. Silva had some moments of success in the fight, particularly with his left hook, though overall Adesanya won comfortably.
While “The Last Stylebender” has a legitimately world-class kickboxing resume, perhaps the best in MMA right now, Whittaker was quick to note there are significant differences between kickboxing and striking in MMA.
“We’re not kickboxing,” Whittaker said. “The difference in striking in the Octagon as opposed to the ring is night and day. Comparing the two isn’t applicable. Yes, he can take a lot of the skillsets over and they’re very transferable, but it’s not the same. It’s not the same.
He used his own most dangerous opponent, Yoel Romero, in contrast to the challenge Adesanya presents.
“Having very high technical skills in striking, isn’t the same as being a very dangerous striker. If you were to look at Romero, he is not technically great at stand-up. He’s not known for his technical grace with his standup, [but] most of his wins have been knockouts. He hits very hard. He hits like a truck. He’s a dangerous striker. He would have to be one of the most dangerous strikers in the world. Most of his wins come by knockout standing up - punches, flying knees - he’s a very, very dangerous striker but you can’t say he’s super technical, because he’s not.
“Adesanya is dangerous and technical, but he’s not the same as Romero. He’s not super, super dangerous.”
After his abdominal surgery, Whittaker is looking to face the winner of Adesanya’s clash with Gastelum at UFC 236, who will be the interim champion, relatively quickly.
“I’m looking to fight the winner of that,” he said. ”I guess, in terms of timelines and dates, it will be a month - two or three months after that. Three months maximum, one month minimum. That’s the kind of timeline I’m looking for.”
GSP retired, officially, today.
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Today, I am announcing my retirement from the Ultimate Fighting Championship and mixed martial arts competition. I intend to keep training and practicing martial arts for as long as I live, but now is the time that I chose to end my career as a professional MMA athlete. I’ve always planned to leave the sport on my own terms and timing. It takes a lot of discipline to become and stay champion. It also takes a lot of discipline to stop while still feeling that you’re in the best physical and mental shape of your life. I believe that the best way to pass the test of time is to remain ahead of it. Swipe the photos to read my official statement. Aujourd’hui, j’annonce ma retraite de l’Ultimate Fighting Championship et de la compétition en arts martiaux mixtes. J’ai l’intention de continuer à m’entraîner et à pratiquer les arts martiaux aussi longtemps que je vivrai, mais le moment est venu de mettre fin à ma carrière d’athlète professionnel en AMM. Il faut énormément de discipline pour devenir et rester champion. Il faut aussi énormément de discipline pour prendre la décision d’arrêter au moment où vous avez le sentiment d’être dans la meilleure forme physique et mentale de votre vie. J’ai toujours voulu quitter le sport au sommet, en santé et à mes conditions. Parcourez les photos pour lire mon annonce officielle complète.
St-Pierre on his decision to retire on his own terms pic.twitter.com/MtVb7W4Dui— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) February 21, 2019
Chris Weidman congratulates GSP on his career
Congratulations to George St. Pierre on his retirement. He has been a role model in the sport from the start to the finish. Amazing career ! Great job finishing on top !— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) February 21, 2019
What a career. The Hendricks win was controversial, but that’s still amazing.
Georges St-Pierre defeated every man he ever fought. #UFOTD— Seán Sheehan (@SeanSheehanBA) February 21, 2019
The moment GSP became champion
February 21, 2019
So say we all, Cub Swanson. So say we all.
I wish more fighters were like GSP and less like Colby— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) February 22, 2019
Even Luke Rockhold can’t just slide in Valerie Loureda’s DMs like that.
When you shoot your shot to @valerielouredaa come correct #ATT @YoelRomeroMMA pic.twitter.com/3GnF3TQn6D— Jorge Masvidal UFC (@GamebredFighter) February 21, 2019
This is a bummer, Amanda Nunes vs. Holly Holm would have been a perfect headliner for that card.
The rumored Holly Holm vs Amanda Nunes fight isn’t happening on May 11 in Brazil and there’s no deal in place with either side at this time for a future fight, sources told ESPN. Nunes isn’t scheduled to fight anyone on that card either. @AnaHissa first reported Nunes news.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 21, 2019
I would rather Jose Aldo not get the chance to snuff out the division’s most promising contender, but Alex Volkanovski would be a cracking fight nonetheless.
To see my name mentioned in the same sentence as @josealdojunior gives me confidence in the work myself and my team are doing.— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) February 21, 2019
To fight a legend of the sport would be an absolute honour.
Let’s make it happen!! https://t.co/ZSMWBjob3A
Darren Till can’t pronounce Irish names either
My favorite word for grappling like this ‘slick’ because it’s just so smooth
I still don’t know why Tony Ferguson capitalizes every word, but it still annoys the hell out of me.
While you were training MMA and playing video games, this guy was mastering the Art of the Blade
Congresswoman Sharice Davids holds a win over current UFC fighter Nina Ansaroff, yet somehow she wasn’t picked for The Ultimate Fighter. Things seem to have worked out for her, though!
Not everyday you see a sitting Congresswoman do this! @sharicedavids pic.twitter.com/ch9ckapX0U— Dave D'Marko (@DaveDMarko) February 21, 2019
Thiago Santos vs. Jan Blachowicz is going to be insane. Blachowicz is made of iron, but Santos has Thor’s hammer tattooed on his chest and punches like he’s throwing it with every blow.
Six minutes of pure carnage packed into 2:20 - Thiago Santos vs. Jimi Manuwa. pic.twitter.com/vrX9MEjhA5— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) February 20, 2019
Podcasts and Video
Thiago Santos’ striking
Jan Blachowicz’ power kicks
Everything about this is awesome
This is Makpal Abdrazakova hunting with her trained Golden eagle in Kazakhstan pic.twitter.com/jonPyd2PTU— 41 Strange (@41Strange) February 21, 2019
Sleep well, Maniacs! A better tomorrow is always possible. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook @Vorpality