UFC middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, believes that despite the improvements made by his arch-rival, Robert Whittaker, he is confident of getting a win over the Australian when they clash for the second time at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas on Sunday morning.
The fight will be Adesanya’s fourth title defence after wins against Yoel Romero, Paolo Costa and Marvin Vettori.
Adesanya emerged victorious in their first fight at the Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia in 2019 to claim the middleweight title and he is confident of retaining the belt against a much improved Whittaker.
Although he’s mostly seen as overconfident, Adesanya says he will be taking the fight with all seriousness as he has noticed changes in his opponent.
“He’s young; he’s actually younger than me. I know I look fresh, but he’s younger than me. So he’s made a lot of improvements in his game. But you guys have to understand from tough nationals to being the UFC middleweight champion, this guy did a lot of work and he ran through everyone till he ran into me and then I stopped that sh*t. But the last three fights, he has done what he’s always done,” he said at the pre-match press conference.
“He’s a smart man. I think he has a lot of smart people in his team. They know what they’re in for.”
Whittaker has, however, stated that it will be a tough encounter also revealing that he has learnt from the mistakes from the loss in 2019.
“I’m in a good mood. Things between me and Izzy have been quite civil, so we’re in a really good place,” Whittaker said at the pre-match press conference.
“I have to take this rematch with a lot more gravity and respect. I’ve been watching his recent fights and they all look phenomenal. I’ve watched the tape back from our fight and found things I could’ve done differently.
“Honestly my team has done the best job of equipping me with the skills I need to win this fight, it’s on me.”