Reigning UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will defend his 185-pound strap against former division titleholder Robert Whittaker in the UFC 271 pay-per-view (PPV) main event later this month in Houston, a rematch of their UFC 243 showdown.
If Adesanya prevails, the plan is to have him fight the winner of Derek Brunson vs. Jared Cannonier, who collide in the UFC 271 co-main event in “The Lone Star State.” Or Whittaker could win and end up facing Cannonier for the second time in his career.
Fellow middleweight contender Jack Hermansson is hoping UFC fans are sick of rematches and will instead campaign for “The Joker,” who can make a big statement against Sean Strickland in the UFC Vegas 47 headliner this weekend in Las Vegas.
“You have a couple of guys that are fighting, and it’s going to be interesting to see how it goes, but I feel with a great win here, I’m putting myself next in line,” Hermansson said (via MMA Junkie). “I do a good enough performance, you know, and then it depends on the other contenders. Brunson, Cannonier, how will they perform? Are they going to do an exciting fight or not? You know, we have had a lot of rematches just lately. Vettori against Adesanya. Now Whittaker against Adesanya. Do we want to see Brunson against Adesanya? I’m not sure. You know, I think people want to see Jack Hermansson and Adesanya.”
Hermansson (22-6) is just one fight removed from his unanimous decision loss to Marvin Vettori and Strickland (24-3) is not ranked in the Top 5, so the more likely scenario is that UFC has “The Joker” fight the loser of Adesanya vs. Whittaker at some point later this year.
None of this matters if Strickland takes home the “W” on Sat. night and according to the bookies, “Tarzan” is the odds-on betting favorite. It will be interesting to see how different the middleweight division looks after all these fights are wrapped up over the next week and a half.
For much more on both UFC Vegas 47 and UFC 271 click here and here.