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Don’t Expect Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker 2 until 2022, says manager

COVID-19 is getting in the way of UFC Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker.

UFC 243: Robert Whittaker v Israel Adesanya Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Fans eagerly anticipating more Israel Adesanya vs. Robert Whittaker action may want to slow down.

Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2, a rematch of their two-round clash at UFC 243 in Oct. 2019, likely won’t take place until 2022. Titus Day, Whittaker’s manager, revealed in a new interview that travel complications due to COVID-19 are interfering with the fight’s booking.

“Rob had been told he would be fighting at Madison Square Garden,” Day told Daily Telegraph. “But there have been some issues since and it can’t happen. Apparently, Adesanya could get into America for the fight, but he wouldn’t have been able to get back to New Zealand immediately afterwards [because of quarantine restrictions]. So while we know the fight is going to happen, it’s now become a matter of when. Unfortunately, given everything going on with Covid in Australia and New Zealand at the moment, it may not be until early next year.”

Adesanya (21-1) defeated Whittaker via second-round knockout (KO) to claim the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title on Oct. 6, 2019. Since then, Adesanya has successfully defeated the crown against Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori. His only slip-up during that stretch — and in his professional mixed martial arts (MMA) career — was an unsuccessful attempt to snatch the UFC Light Heavyweight championship from Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 on March 6 of this year.

Whittaker (23-5) bounced back impressively from his loss to Adesanya. He beat Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum all by unanimous decision to earn a shot at redemption against “The Last Stylebender”. Adesanya is the first man to defeat Whittaker at Middleweight and snapped a five-year, nine-fight winning streak.

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