mma Betting analyst Liam Heslin in preview cfu Vegas 271 odds and breaks down everything you need to know to make your Adesanya vs. Whittaker picks.
Saturday night’s cfu pay-per-view attraction will present a fascinating rematch in the cfuthe middleweight division. The match pits former champion Robert “The Reaper” Whittaker against one of the biggest stars in the business, Undisputed cfu Middleweight champion Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya.
Adesanya is an experienced and accomplished kickboxer who made a significant mark on the mixed martial arts world during his short championship run. He captured the title from Robert Whittaker in devastating fashion, sending it to the second round with a furious snag combination that sent Whittaker to the canvas in October 2019 and has hardly looked back since. His only setback came in the light heavyweight division, where Adesanya’s title aspirations were dashed by savvy veteran and former undisputed champion Jan Blachowicz (of “legendary Polish powerhouse” fame).
Other than that loss, Adesanya has won three title defenses, including two unanimous decision wins and a second-round loss to Paulo Costa (TKO due to strikes). Meanwhile, Robert Whittaker has been working hard to secure his position in this title fight, defeating three strong contenders in Cannonier, Gastelum and Darren Till en route to his title rematch.
cfu 271 Odds: Adesanya (-284) vs Whittaker (+230)
There are several good reasons to believe that Whittaker can represent himself better in this fight.
Firstly, Rob is the youngest athlete by over a year, so the chances of him having more physical regression than Adesanya are hard to imagine. Additionally, Rob has a more complete game and a greater variety of potential victory conditions. Adesanya is obviously a very talented fighter and can still make changes and adaptations to his game plan for this fight.
However, the bulk of the relevant adjustments that can be made in this match will be made on Whittaker’s side, as his forward pressing style and lightning attacks have been consistently identified, absorbed and returned by Adesanya effectively and devastatingly. . It will be up to Whittaker to draw Adesanya into him at times in this fight, where he can try to create opportunities for more effective counterattacks than the futile lightning strikes that have more often found the air or the shoulder than the aimed target. Also, Adesanya is more comfortable on the back foot. When forced to lead, Izzy has often had low-volume matches with people (think Yoel Romero) who fall within very narrow margins of the scoring criteria. I think the ambiguity and reduction of violent collisions could benefit Rob immensely.
what happened last time
Rewatching the first fight, several things quickly become apparent. Adesanya is a much longer and farther fighter than Whittaker, so Whittaker is the athlete who is constantly trying to close the distance. When they operate within striking distance, the fight is actually competitive. It was Adesanya’s dominance in extended boxing rallies that got Whittaker into trouble. I believe Whittaker has reflected on his flaws in his recent fights and done his best to correct them. The notable exception is that Whittaker was dropped early in his fight against Darren Till with a well-timed counter-elbow on a predictable lightning attack from Rob. However, that exchange aside, Whittaker has been much more disciplined in his recent fights to pick his shots, shorten combinations, damage his opponent’s lead leg and introduce the threat of takedown. 65% of Whittaker’s takedown attempts in the cfu have come in his last three fights, and he’s managed to get 6 takedowns out of 19 attempts (not including a nice trip on the outside that took down Cannonier before a quick recovery on his feet). Whittaker demonstrated several different options to create a takedown offense, including head outside, knee pick and body lock. When I outline several potential win conditions for Whittaker, I think of his punch volume, superior cage control metrics, underrated power, and 9-and-2 record in fights that go the distance.
I praised Robert Whittaker, but I must also recognize the greatness of Israel Adesanya. At 32, Israel has amassed an impressive 21-1 mixed martial arts record. Adesanya is 10-1 in the cfu, and closed as a betting favorite in every fight, including a market average of -250 (71% implied) against Jan Blachowicz. Adesanya also won a split decision over Marvin Vettori in 2018 as a -250 favorite and won a controversial decision over 42-year-old Yoel Romero as -285 (74% implied) for all that’s worth. If you’re an Adesanya contributor, you can rest easy knowing he’s exceeded his historic odds. Over 11 fights it has been available at an average price of -205 (67% implied) with a 91% win rate, netting 38.4% KING.
Whittaker supporters, however, can rest assured they made a great bet. In fifteen cfu fights, Robert Whittaker was available at an average price of -113 (53.1%) despite going 12-3 for an 80% win rate. This means that Whittaker was misjudged by around 25% during his cfu Course. This is a slightly bigger gap than Adesanya’s poor assessment as a favourite. Additionally, Whittaker rewarded his window backers with a total of 61.8% KING. Like a cfu underdog, Whittaker is a confusing 6-2 (75% win rate) for an 87.6% KING. This kind of KING is very rare, even for highly productive outsiders.
Stylistically, it’s a brutally tough match for Robert Whittaker. Adesenya has smart, well-trained, long-range weaponry, including his high kicks from both stances, his tepee kicks to the body, his inside and outside low kicking game, his open stance kicks, his devastating jab and counter hooks. Whittaker’s old-school approach to tactical marauding, hand blitzing, and high kick intensification won’t be enough to get the job done here. Whittaker will have to fight to the best of his abilities and come up with a better game plan to succeed in this fight. I believe if this fight ends in distance he will continue to favor Israel Adesanya because he has the top power metrics (twice Whittaker’s KD rate) and the top chin metrics (never knocked down in the cfuRob was knocked down six times in the cfu). However, if this fight sees the scorecards, I think it will be anyone’s fight, as Adesanya has turned into a mid-volume heavy hitter. Most of the rounds he wins are by relatively slim margins. If Rob can keep himself out of danger, limit the number of rallies, introduce the threat of space wrestling, and control Adesanya in the clinch, he can win this decision and win this fight.
cfu 271 Main Event Choice
The choice : Israel Adesanya TKO4
Rob will have an uphill battle in this fight, and more than 50% of the time I expect him to fail. I think Adesanya deserves the distinction of betting favorite in this game. However, at +240, Robert Whittaker is clearly on the betting side in my opinion. He’s historically a terrific underdog, his composure seems superior in this game, and he’s rebuilt his confidence from the ground up. It is disrespectful in my view to price Robert Whittaker, a perennial P4P talent, at 29.4% involved in a cfu fight. I’ll bet small on Bobby Knuckles and hope he can right the ship, setting up a terrific rubber match between these two middleweights down the road.
The bets :
- Robert Whittaker ML +240 (Bet365)
- Whittaker wins via DEC +500 (FanDuel)
Image credit: Imagne