Robert Whittaker rejects idea Israel Adesanya was “off” at UFC 293: “Sean shut him down”

By Josh Evanoff - September 11, 2023

UFC middleweight contender Robert Whittaker doesn’t believe Israel Adesanya was off on Saturday.

Robert Whittaker Israel Adesanya

‘The Last Stylebender’ returned to the octagon opposite Sean Strickland in the main event of UFC 293 this weekend. Heading into the matchup, Israel Adesanya was a massive betting favorite. Furthermore, he was already targeting a future title defense against Dricus du Plessis following his win over Robert Whittaker in July.

However, all those plans were blown up on Saturday night by ‘Tarzan’. Israel Adesanya showed heart and toughness bouncing back from a first-round knockdown, but still suffered a unanimous decision loss. Despite the one-sided defeat, Dana White announced plans to make the rematch. It’s safe to say that Robert Whittaker doesn’t agree with that decision.

Speaking on his MMArcade Podcast, Robert Whittaker reacted to Israel Adesanya’s loss at UFC 293. Evidently, he rejected the idea from Dana White and others that the champion just had an off night. In the eyes of ‘The Reaper’, Sean Strickland just had the perfect strategy and fighting style on Saturday.


Israel Adesanya Sean Strickland UFC 293

(via Zuffa LLC)

“I’m seeing a lot of things popping up saying that Izzy looked off,” Robert Whittaker stated reacting to Israel Adesanya’s upset loss. “I don’t think he had an off night, I think he looked off because Sean shut him down. Izzy wasn’t given any space in the open floor to do any of his tricky kicks. He wasn’t given any space to work with his flinch game, his punches, he just wasn’t given the chance.”

He continued, “Sean was in his face from the first bell… That shot he landed in the first round just exasperated everything else. It boosted Sean’s confidence through the roof, and it dropped Izzy’s right down. … You need that doubt in your opponent and it just set the stage for the other four rounds, which I felt Sean won pretty handly.”

What do you make of these comments from Robert Whittaker? Were you shocked by Israel Adesanya’s loss to Sean Strickland?


Robert Whittaker Sean Strickland UFC