The former UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker took on Jared Cannonier in the co-main event of UFC 254. This was a highly anticipated fight to determine the number one contender for the middleweight title.
Going into the fight Jared Cannonier was the favorite against the former champion. This was extremely odd, to begin with. Jared Cannonier is indeed one of the best middleweights in UFC right now. He has vicious knock out power. He has an excellent takedown defense and he knows how to get back up if he gets taken down. And his striking, cardio, and durability can not be ignored in the middleweight division.
However, Robert Whittaker looked great in his last fight against Darren Till. For the first time in the last few years, Whittaker had the momentum going into the fight with Jared Cannonier. Despite the loss to Adesanya, he is still one of the best in the division. Whittaker was the better fighter in each aspect of fighting. However, Cannonier certainly was a unique threat to The Reaper.
Robert Whittaker outclassed Jared Cannonier
It was expected that he would land a lot of leg kicks against Whittaker. And he did a fair amount of damage with his leg kicks throughout the fight. But, Whittaker was able to absorb the leg kicks and still put the pressure on Cannonier and control the octagon.
It can even be said that Jared Cannonier relied way too much on his leg kicks. On the other hand, Robert Whittaker mixed it up brilliantly in the fight. His jabs were causing a lot of problems for Cannonier. He took Cannonier down a couple of times. He landed a few lethal high kicks. Overall, he seemed to have more weapons in his arsenal compared to Cannonier.
Jared Cannonier looked for the finish at the end of the fight and even rocked Whittaker once. Cannonier should have looked for the openings to finish the fight more frequently in the Whittaker fight.
It’s very hard to beat Robert Whittaker on judges’ scorecards in a striking battle. For every time Cannonier landed a strike Whittaker landed multiple strikes, staying ahead on the scorecard.
It’s hard to imagine Jared Cannonier beating Robert Whittaker when we compare them skills vs skills. Jared Cannonier’s power was the great equalizer in this fight for him. But, Whittaker schooled him in striking and it’s fair to say that it was yet another dominating performance from The Reaper.