UFC is at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne this Sunday! Whittaker vs Adesanya headlines what's sure to be a cracking event. Check out our expert tips for UFC 243 here and good luck to everyone following!
Full disclosure, I’d prefer Whittaker to win this bout for reasons of fandom. He’s a great bloke, who has put on excellent fights and recently had a bad run of injuries & health issues. Unfortunately, I’m going to have to side with Israel Adesanya to take the belt in Sunday’s Main Event. I feel more confident in Israel’s form, considering the incredible regularity with which he’s appeared in the Octagon, along with feeling that he’ll generally be the busier, more-active fighter.
One of the core factors will be Israel’s ability to kick the leg, and Whittaker’s historical issues with effectively defending leg kicks. The largely overmatched Rafael Natal was able to consistently go to Whittaker’s leg at range in their bout, landing 22 of 27 attempts. Israel’s got a far better-rounded distance striking arsenal than Natal, along with posing a 6.5 inch reach advantage. It’ll be difficult for Whittaker to get, and stay in the pocket where Israel’s got his own defensive liabilities with Whittaker’s linear, lunging style.
There’s also an issue of the relatively-static, low volume fighters that Whittaker’s largely contended with in recent years. Yoel Romero and Jacare are fearsome competitors, but they’re just not that liberal with their striking volume. As a result, Whittaker was firmly in the driver’s seat so far as picking up rounds was concerned, whereas I feel this matchup will be the opposite of that trend.
I feel that Whittaker ideally needs to capitalize on Israel’s slow-starter tendencies, get on the inside and exploit the boxing defence in order to have a great shot. So I’ll side with Israel to pick up an increasingly wide 49-46 decision. In-Play bettors will likely have a shot at better odds after the end of the first round, so keep an eye out for that opportunity.
This fight should be over quickly, to be short. Callan’s tough, his BJJ is opportunistic and yet he strikes with the effectiveness of somebody who’s never really put any effort into learning the defensive end of the trade. Pitolo’s not going to be an elite talent by any means, but he’s a hard, heavy hitter who can stuff a takedown and knows how to push the pace with tenacity. It’s not the most sophisticated pick, but I feel that this one’s fairly simple.
More of a long-shot than my other plays, but one that I feel is justified by Dhiego Lima’s rich history of being knocked out and knocked down in the UFC. It’s his second go in the promotion, having been KO’d in the first round in 3 out of his 4 bouts in his first attempt at UFC employment. Jumeau’s not especially elite, but he’s aggressive, tenacious and comes forward hard. I feel that there’s a greater-than-projected chance of Jumeau managing to give Lima his 4th UFC KO loss along with his 9th knockdown in the UFC.
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