Before he was booked for the UFC on ESPN 22 headliner, Robert Whittaker took out another contender in his quest to regain the middleweight title.
A former UFC middleweight champion, Whittaker faced Jared Cannonier in the co-main event of UFC 254, which took place Oct. 24 at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
Whittaker pumped out his jab early, as he looked to stick and move while light on his feet. Cannonier was patient in his approach but inflicted heavy damage with his leg kicks. He even dropped Whittaker with a big swing. However, Whittaker was the busier striker and landed the more significant shots in Round 1.
In Round 2, Whittaker continued to find a home for his piston-like jab, which swelled Cannonier’s eye. Ahead on the scorecards, Whittaker almost finished the fight at the start of the third round, when he landed a head kick that wobbled Cannonier, who stumbled to the ground. Cannonier survived the onslaught and even managed to stun Whittaker with less than a minute remaining in the fight, but it was too little too late.
Whittaker (22-5 MMA, 13-3 UFC) returns to action Saturday when he takes on Kelvin Gastelum (17-6 MMA, 11-6 UFC) in the main event of UFC on ESPN 22, which takes place at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Before he faces Gastelum, relive Whittaker’s decision win over Cannonier in the video above.