Robert Whittaker makes early prediction for Dricus Du Plessis vs. Israel Adesanya at UFC 305

Robert Whittaker doesn’t see Israel Adesanya reclaiming the UFC middleweight title.

Middleweight champion Dricus Du Plessis (21-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC) makes his first title defense against Adesanya (24-3 MMA, 13-3 UFC) in the UFC 305 headliner on Aug. 17 at RAC Arena in Perth (pay-per-view, ESPN, ESPN+).

Adesanya lost his middleweight title to Sean Strickland in an upset loss at UFC 293. After finishing Whittaker by TKO at UFC 290, Du Plessis went on to dethrone Strickland to claim the middleweight title at UFC 297.

Watching Du Plessis and Adesanya’s recent fights against Strickland, Whittaker thinks there’s a blueprint for Du Plessis to get his hand raised.

“I’m going to lean toward Dricus,” Whittaker told MMA Junkie. “I think what he displayed in his fight against Sean Strickland, that forward pressure and that awkward, unorthodox style – especially with the success Sean had doing that to Izzy – I think that’s a recipe to beat Adesanya.”

With Khamzat Chimaev withdrawing due to illness, Whittaker (25-7 MMA, 16-5 UFC) will now face Ikram Aliskerov (15-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in Saturday’s UFC on ABC 6 main event at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh (ABC, ESPN, ESPN+).

His initial fight with Chimaev was dubbed as a No. 1 contender bout. When asked if a win over Aliskerov would have the same title implications, Whittaker said he can’t concentrate on that.

“(The title is) not something I really focus on too much – I don’t look past the fight,” Whittaker said. “I understand the threat and the gravity that Ikram’s going to bring to the fight. I can’t afford to entertain thoughts past him. I’m only focused and locked in on trying to take his head off in the 25 minutes I’m given.”

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 305.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie