Robert Whittaker desperately wants to get back at the top of the middleweight class, and to get another chance has to beat Dricus du Plessis. The South African is one of the rising stars and the guy whose name is slowly appearing in the title talks. Now, to prevent that from happening and earn himself another shot at the throne, the Reaper needs to add another W to his record. He is a big favorite, but against the wild and very strong rival, that might be a problem.
Robert Whittaker (24-6, -400) holds the no.2 spot in the middleweight division, and the only one ahead is Israel Adesanya, against whom Whittaker first lost his title and, after that, lost in the rematch. In between and after those defeats, the Kiwi posted very good performances, beating his rivals with more or less routine performances.
Defeats against Izzy are his only ones since June 2014. During that time, Whittaker won the title, defeating names like Uriah Hall, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson, Jacare Souza, Yoel Romero, Darren Till, Jared Cannonier and Kelvin Gastelum. His most recent victory was against Marvin Vettori.
A very well-rounded and explosive fighter at first, Whittaker carved his skills, becoming one of the most disciplined warriors in the octagon, whose mixture of kickboxing and dirty boxing is excellent. He isn’t afraid of taking matters to the ground, and knows to wrestle pretty well.
Dricus du Pessis (19-2, +320) has been an absolute beast since joining the UFC, winning four of his five fights in the organization via stoppage. Two were KOs, Markus Perez and Trevin Giles, two via submissions, Darren Till and Derek Brunson, while Brad Tavares lost via decision.
The South African’s physique is incredible, and he is a pile of muscle that walks around trying to smash anyone standing in his way. His immense size creates some problems with the cardio, which du Pessis needs to improve in order to become a champ.
The former KSW champion knows to wrestle well and has posted ten submission wins so far. Many are underestimating his wrestling knowledge, labeling the guy from South Africa as just another power hitter, even though that isn’t true.
If, and only if, du Plessis comes into this fight swinging early on and manages to hit Whittaker, the situation might be nasty for the former champion. In all the other scenarios, the Reaper is our pick. He is much more stable and cautious than his rival, who often opens to much once attacking. On several occasions against Brunson and his previous opponents, we’ve seen du Pessis overexposing his chin, which will be deadly against the New Zealand guy. We know how fast and quick Whittaker can be once he explodes. So, even though the odds aren’t that high, we are in for the Reaper. For those who are brave and want to risk, go with Whittaker winning via KO.
Pick: Whittaker wins -400
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Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.