Since their first fight at UFC 243, Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker have remained the two best Middleweight fighters on the planet. Whittaker has admitted that he was angry going into the first fight and wanted to brawl with Adesanya. This worked in Adesanya’s favor who was able to counter Whittaker’s aggression with incredible accuracy which led to a 2nd round knockout. After seeing Jan Blachowicz defeat Adesanya with wrestling, Whittaker has eluded to using his entire skillset in this rematch. This means we could very well see Robert Whittaker imploring a wrestling heavy gameplan. Whereas 60% of the Verdict Community predicted Whittaker to win the first fight, only 42% are predicting him to win the rematch. That’s still a high number considering how the first fight went. There are more people picking Whittaker to defeat Adesanya than there were people that picked Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Marvin Vettori to defeat Adesanya.
If you’re a fan of Heavyweight slugfests, this is a fight that’s tailored made for you. Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa are the same kind of fighter. They both like to stand and bang. This is not going to be a fight where either fighter is looking to win rounds. They’re both coming into this fight looking for a knockout, and 85% of the Verdict Community predicts this fight will end by knockout. Tuivasa has won 4 consecutive fights by knockout with 3 of those stoppages coming in the 1st round. A win against Derrick Lewis will immediately propel Tuivasa into the title picture. Derrick Lewis has “Knockout King” tattooed across his chest for good reason, as he holds the record for the most knockouts in UFC history at 13. The last time Lewis competed in his hometown of Houston, Texas, he lost to Ciryl Gane. He admitted that competing in his hometown put too much pressure on him and contributed to the loss. Lewis will get another opportunity to win in front of his hometown at UFC 271. This is an important fight at Heavyweight given the current state of the division.
The winner of this fight could very well be the next challenger for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Since losing to Israel Adesanya in November of 2018, Derek Brunson has reinvented himself as a fighter. He’s won 5 consecutive fights where he finished Darren Till, ended the winning streak of Kevin Holland, and handed Edmen Shahbazyan the first loss of his professional career. If he defeats Cannonier, it’s going to be hard to deny Brunson a title shot. The UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya says he wants to lap the division, but he prefers “fresh meat”. He’s wanted to defend his title against Jared Cannonier for over a year and even called Cannonier out in his post-fight speech after finishing Paulo Costa. If both Adesanya and Cannonier win at UFC 271, it’s almost certain that this fight will be next.
Kyler Phillips is the biggest favorite on Verdict heading into UFC 271, with 80% predicting him to defeat Marcelo Rojo. Prior to losing his last fight against Raulian Paiva, Phillips handed Song Yadong his first loss in the UFC. Both Phillips and Rojo are looking to get back into the win column after losing their last fight. The Verdict Community is expecting this fight to go long, with 65% predicting it will go to a decision.
Since the start of the pandemic, Bobby Green has found his stride as a fighter. In his last fight, he became the first fighter in history to finish Al Iaquinta by knockout. Even in his loss to Rafael Fiziev, Bobby Green ended the fight very strong. He’ll now take on Nasrat Haqparast who’s looking to bounce back from a loss against Dan Hooker. Green is a big favorite, with 73% of the Verdict Community predicting him to win. This fight will kick off the main card for UFC 271.
If Andrei Arlovski defeats Jared Vanderaa, he’ll be tied for the 2nd most wins in UFC history at 22. The current record is held by Donald Cerrone at 23 UFC wins. Don’t be surprised if Arlovski ends up breaking this record in the near future. He’ll take on Jared Vanderaa who’s coming off of a knockout loss to Alexander Romanov. When Andrei Arlovski made his professional MMA debut, Vanderaa was only 7 years old. This is the final preliminary fight before the main card kicks off.