'Bobby Knuckles' and 'The Italian Dream' finally get their fight in September.
Originally scheduled for June 12 [NZ time] at UFC 275 in Singapore, Māori-Aussie fighter Robert Whittaker [23-6 MMA, 14-4 UFC] was meant to fight Marvin Vettori [18-5-1 MMA, 8-3-1 UFC] but Whittaker suffered an injury during training camp in April.
The former UFC middleweight champion and Vettori, both of who are former opponents to current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, will now have their chance to throw down in the octagon as part of the UFC's first venture to Paris, on September 3.
Your first official bout for #UFCParis is here!@RobWhittakerMMA vs @MarvinVettori is set for the French capital 🇫🇷— UFC (@ufc) May 31, 2022
[ Register for your early access tickets now at https://t.co/WvN9Cd5DRT 🎟 ] pic.twitter.com/lNRUjrXF4f
ALLEZ ALLEZ ALLEZ, OI OI OI! Credit: Twitter / UFC.
The Paris event is reportedly meant to feature France's own Cyril Gane and fan favourite Tai Tuivasa in a colossal heavyweight showdown.
Whittaker's only losses over his last 14 fights have come to Adesanya, once losing his title in 2019 and his other loss a failed attempt to claim it back off 'The Last Stylebender' in February this year.
Vettori, prior to Whittaker, also failed in his fight for UFC gold, losing via unanimous decision to Adesanya in April last year. That fight saw Vettori's biggest loss, with all judges scoring it a dominant 50-45 decision win to 'The Last Stylebender', but it left Vettori still convinced that he was the better fighter that night. Vettori's first loss to Adesanya happened a few years ago, minus the title.
The Italian fighter has since bounced back with a win over former title challenger Paulo Costa via unanimous decision in October 2021.
Both middleweights are hoping to get back into the title picture, with 'The Reaper' wanting his trilogy of Adesanya fights. In order for that to eventuate for Whittaker in the future, Adesanya must successfully defend his title against new challenger Jared Cannonier at UFC 276 on July 3 [NZ time]. It's a pay-per-view headlined by City Kickboxing's best, the other co-main event being a trilogy fight between the current titleholder and Adesanya's teammate Alexander Volkanovski, and Max Holloway for the featherweight championship.
Whittaker has held the #1 ranking since dropping the title to Adesanya in 2019 and has defeated all those below him that have stepped up to take his spot. Could the #3 ranked Vettori finally be the one to knock off 'Bobby Knuckles'?