There are whispers behind the scenes the UFC made a monstrous mistake after hype-machine “Blood Diamond” was given a brutal reality check.
The dream trans-Tasman re-match between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya is finally here.
Whittaker’s return to the Octagon headlines a stacked card at UFC 271 in Houston, Texas, which also features Aussie Tai Tuivasa in one of the biggest fights of his career against cult-hero Derrick Lewis.
You can follow all the live results below.
Watch UFC 271: Adesanya vs Whittaker LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 13th February from 2pm AEDT. ORDER NOW >
‘That is crazy’: UFC moment blows minds
The explosive start to the UFC undercard has continued with another insane comeback stoppage from bantamweight Douglas Silva de Andrade.
Silva de Andrade had aken a beating in the opening round with two of the three judges giving his opponent Sergey Morozov a 100-8 dominant round score as the fight went into the second round.
However, the fight was brutally turned on its head in the second round and Silva de Andrade finished the fight off by making Morozov tap late in the round.
The incredible turnaround left UFC commentators stunned.
“That is crazy,” UFC legend Daniel Cormier said in commentary for ESPN.
ESPN MMA journalist Ariel Helwani posted on Twitter: “I mean, this is just the craziest sport. What a wild fight”.
UFC hype-machine’s brutal wake up call
The UFC world was eagerly awaiting the debut of Zimbabwean-born New Zealander Mike Mathetha, who has secured worldwide attention with his “Blood Diamond” stage name.
But the hype deflated almost instantly as Mathetha was brutally choked unconscious by Jeremiah Wells on the preliminary undercard.
Veteran UFC journalist Damon Martin speculated in a Twitter post that Mathetha may have been rushed into such a high profile fight simply because of his teammate connection to Adesanya.
“Jeremiah Well gives Blood Diamond a rude welcome to the octagon by choking him unconscious with a rear-naked choke in the first round,” Martin posted.
“Everyone advances as their own speed so there’s no right or wrong amount of fights but that being said, it felt like he got a look largely being Adesanya’s teammate.”
Blood Diamons showed some tough defence when taken down, but was ultimately easily submitted in the first round.
“I seen his eyes go back,” Wells said inside the Octagon.
“The choke was in.”
‘F*** the noise’: Joe Rogan’s UFC snub
Israel Adesanya will defend his UFC middleweight title this weekend – but commentator Joe Rogan won’t be there to witness it.
The 32-year-old Adesanya will take on Robert Whittaker at UFC 271, but controversial figure Rogan will not be in attendance due to a “scheduling conflict”.
According to TSN Sports, former middleweight champion Michael Bisping will commentate the highly-anticipated bout alongside John Anik and Daniel Cormier.
Anik also served as MC at the ceremonial weigh-in on Saturday, a role Rogan usually fulfils.
Rogan has copped intense backlash over the past few weeks for spreading “misinformation” about the Covid-19 pandemic on his podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
UFC boss Dana White was asked about Rogan at a press conference on Friday, but Adesanya quickly intervened.
“I’m black, I can take this one,” he said.
“There’s a lot of c***s in this game, there’s a lot of snakes in this game.
“I’ve been in this fight game since 2008 and Joe Rogan is one of the nicest, coolest, humble motherf***ers I’ve had the pleasure of working with, understand that.
“F*** the noise, you know what they’re trying to do, you can’t control them, man, and he’s got the biggest platform in the world right now so that’s my n***** Joe Rogan, f*** the noise, just keep doing you Joe, have some mushrooms.”
The last time Adesanya and Whittaker faced off in the Octagon, he claimed a second-round KO victory at Marvel Stadium in October 2019.
The action at Houston’s Toyota Centre kicks off at 10am AEDT, but the main card doesn’t get underway until at least 2pm. Don’t expect to see Adesanya and Whittaker in the Octagon until around 3.30pm.
You can watch UFC 271 on Main Event, while the prelims will be streamed on Kayo.
UFC 271 card
Israel Adesanya (c) vs Robert Whittaker – middleweight title
Derrick Lewis vs Tai Tuivasa – heavyweight
Jared Cannonier vs Derek Brunson – middleweight
Bobby Green vs Nasrat Haqparast – lightweight
Kyler Phillips vs Marcelo Rojo – lightweight
Andrei Arlovski vs Jared Vanderaa – heavyweight
Roxanne Modafferi vs Casey O’Neill – women’s flyweight
William Knight vs Maxim Grishin – heavyweight
Carlos Ulberg vs Fabio Cherant – light heavyweight
Early preliminary card
Leomana Martinez vs Ronnie Lawrence – bantamweight
Alexander Hernandez vs Renato Moicano – lightweight
AJ Dobson vs Jacob Malkoun – middleweight
Douglas Silva de Andrade vs Sergey Morozov – bantamweight
Jeremiah Wells defeated Mike Mathetha — Round 1 TKO (rear naked choke)