The rematch between Bobby Knuckles and The Last Stylebender is getting closer by the day, it’s been 3 years since we last saw these two fighters face each other and on February 12th they will meet once more at UFC 271. Their first meeting saw Izzy win the belt from Robert as he scored a 2nd round KO and cemented himself as the king of the 185-pound division. Since then both fighters have been on a journey making improvements and showing fans that they are not the same fighters we saw in 2019. In a recent report Tai even admitted to agreeing to their fight while being “blind drunk”, it doesn’t get better than this.
Cardio/endurance: Both fighters here have endless gas tanks and endurance. Izzy has been tested multiple times during his UFC career showing that not only does he have the gas tank to go a full 5 rounds, but also that he can take a beating and keep on swinging (vs Gastellum). While Robert was knocked out in their first fight, he has shown that his chin is not glass as he has taken some shots from high-level strikers like Till, Cannonier and Gastellum. While you can never say never in MMA I have to give the edge to Izzy since he has yet to be KO’d in MMA and has proven his consistency when being rocked.
Striking: In case their nicknames weren’t a dead giveaway this category is the bread and butter of each fighter. The champ is the closest thing to this generation’s Anderson Silva. We have seen him use his lethal striking ability and knowledge to make his opponents look like amateurs and at times like they are swinging at the air, he is so good in fact that his opponents all magically turn into wrestlers to avoid his striking, all Izzy needs is a small opening and he’ll put anyone out. Meanwhile, Bobby Knuckles has continued to improve (as scary as it may be) his striking, each fight since he lost the belt has shown the evolution and maturity of Robert, he has also been working on his technical boxing and head movements, he even admitted that his ego got the better of him in their last fight which led to him getting caught. While Whittaker has given us some classic fights with his top-level striking you would be hard pressed to find another middleweight with better striking than the champ.
Grappling: While neither fighter is thought about as a grappler, Robert does hold the distinction of having earned his BJJ black belt as well as being a decorated wrestler in his home country of Australia, depending on how the fight is going we might see Robert dig into his bag of skills and take the champ down. Meanwhile, the champ has been diligently working on his takedown defence since he was out grappled by then Light heavy champion Jan Blachowicz, in his last fight vs Marvin Vettori he was successful in stopping 4 of the 6 attempts but continues to use grappling as a defense mechanism rather than offensively.
Prediction: Adesanya by split decision.