A massive middleweight encounter with almost certain title implications is set for UFC 254 on October 24th. Former division kingpin, Robert ‘The Reaper’ Whittaker will make a hasty return to the Octagon, as he tackles the returning surging contender, Jared ‘The Killa Gorilla’ Cannonier in a number-one contender bout.
Making his respective return to the Octagon just last week in the final foray on ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, popular striker, Whittaker took a competitive unanimous decision win over Darren Till – his first victory since losing the 185-pound championship to Israel Adesanya last October.
Sidelined since September last year due to a torn pectoral muscle, streaking division mover, Cannonier will make his first UFC walk since his headlining win over Jack Hermansson at UFC Fight Night Copenhagen.
Both Whittaker and Cannonier were slated to meet at UFC 248 in March, until the former was forced to withdraw, citing burnout. News of the high-stakes pairing was initially reported by ESPN’s, Brett Okamoto.
A middleweight division mainstay, 29-year-old South Auckland born finisher, Whittaker looks to halt the three-fight rise of Cannonier, and add the Texan to a winning résumé which includes the likes of Derek Brunson, Jacaré Souza, Uriah Hall, Yoel Romero (x2), and last weekend’s judging victory over one-time welterweight championship chaser, Till.
Since his eventual drop to 185-pounds in November of 2018 – 36-year-old Dallas knockout artist, Cannonier has been a revelation. Meeting with former WSOF light heavyweight and middleweight best, David Branch, Cannonier managed a second-frame finish via strikes.
In highlight wins since, Cannonier travelled to Brazil for UFC 237 last May, and secured an opening-round knockout over division icon, Anderson Silva with a series of brutal calf kicks. Rounding off his so far perfect run in the middleweight ranks, Cannonier upset the hometown crowd with a second-round uppercut stoppage of the aforenoted, Hermansson.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.