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Israel Adesanya defended his Middleweight title for the fourth time last Saturday (Feb. 12, 2022) at UFC 271 vs. the highly regarded Robert Whittaker, but “Stylebender” is still catching flak.
After his win, I wrote about the risks of fighting conservatively and winning on small margins. Some, like top Lightweight contender Michael Chandler, had harsher takes, comparing Adesanya’s title bout to a sparring match, and some viewers even scored the fight for Whittaker entirely.
In Adesanya’s opinion, a big part of the criticism is due to his opponent’s lack of aggression. As happened in several Anderson Silva title fights, Adesanya’s opponents realize just how damn good he is on the counter, and they refuse to engage from that point forward. Silva also received criticism for some of his less eventful title wins, but ultimately, it gets forgotten over time.
“I’m starting to fall into this — not a trap, this issue,” Adesanya said on The MMA Hour (via MMAFighting). “Like, I realize that [Anderson] Silva had as well. UFC 97, he fought Thales Leites and he beat him up, pieced him up, but people were like, ‘Oh, it was a boring fight.’ I’m like, no, it wasn’t. Yeah, Thales didn’t really do much later on, because he was too scared to engage.
“Later on [at UFC 271], we thought Rob was going to press the action, because you’re down, his corner’s saying he’s down, but he was just moving away. There was one point he was drifting and trying to set me up for a trap, and I was like, ‘That’s my move,’ and I went back to the center. And then he then came to the center and then we kept on fighting.
If there’s a silver lining for Adesanya, he still enjoyed himself vs. a dangerous opponent in “The Reaper,” unlike his previous fight vs. Marvin Vettori. Adesanya had to remain focused for the whole 25 minutes, because he does seem to respect Whittaker’s skills despite the occasional trash talk.
“But yeah, I’m starting to fall into that trap. Same thing with UFC 112, Abu Dhabi, Demian Maia, and people were just like, ‘Oh, [Silva is] this, he’s that,’ and they forget, they completely forget, and it’s just recency bias. But I had fun. That’s one thing I’m glad [about]. I had fun, I was present from the first round to the last bell. My last fight before that, I wasn’t. I got bored, because I was just like, ‘This guy’s not a threat to me. He doesn’t pose any threat.’
“But this fight, I could not afford to get bored,” Adesanya continued. “I could not afford to have that, because Rob will crack you.”
Next up for Adesanya is likely Jared Cannonier, a fellow striker known for his knockout power. It remains to be seen, however, if Cannonier will continue to push forward after getting a sense of Adesanya’s skills.
Ultimate Fighter (TUF) OG Mike Swick revealed that he’s been battling cancer for some time now, but fortunately, “Quick” appears to be ahead on the scorecards.
My “El Cucuy” translation skills are rusty, is Tony Ferguson with a new crew?
When you stop taking shitty advice from people that don’t matter is when the growth really happens. Cheers - Champ -CSO- # herecomestheshift Fiduciary pic.twitter.com/VYktmnBudE— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) February 16, 2022
Khabib shows off his rarely seen adorable side.
This is the cutest thing ever@TeamKhabib and a little fan ❤ pic.twitter.com/3hPCf4sXGI— Hollywood Khabib (@TanyaHaChi) February 16, 2022
Apparently, Jonathan Haggerty — who won just last week in One Championship — is staying ready for Demetrious Johnson in case Rodtang withdraws.
Jonathan Haggerty drilling his takedown defense.— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) February 16, 2022
'The General' believes he will be a tougher fight for Demetrious Johnson than Rodtang.#ONEX | March, 26th pic.twitter.com/Nj9KgPg36T
Chas Skelly has a funny story about how he joined the UFC roster.
Chas Skelly has said that this Saturday's bout against Mark Striegl may be his last, but the story of how he got his first UFC fight is amazing. pic.twitter.com/IFogSDz82s— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) February 16, 2022
Darren Till isn’t impressed with Uriah Hall’s recent trash talk/callouts.
It’s 2022 and @UriahHallMMA still thinks that fighters who fight in the @ufc are afraid of other fighters who fight in the @ufc— D (@darrentill2) February 16, 2022
Bobby Green made history last weekend, and he gets another chance next Saturday!
Slips, rips, and KO clips
How’s this for an old school boxing throwback?
#OTD in 1980, Marvin Hagler knocked Loucif Hamani right into press row pic.twitter.com/S6Rfc2qXlz— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) February 16, 2022
I feel like most high kicks land to the temple or behind the ear, but this one landed straight on the jawline.
OUT COLD!— Beyond Kickboxing (@Beyond_Kick) February 14, 2022
Callum Patterson with a vicious head kick against Nathaniel Chiteza at last weekend's Muay Thai Showdown in Bolton, England. pic.twitter.com/rzd0KzRhBr
This gogoplata is at least 50% face crank, but hey, a tap is a tap!
Don’t post workout clips unless you’re trying this hard.
Midnight Music: 1983, Psychobilly
Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.