Robert Whittaker and Darren Until have been having fun with pleasant back-and-forth exchanges on social media for the higher a part of the 12 months.
It began with Until’s repeated query of “Rob?” on Instagram and Twitter. Then the 2 joked in regards to the type of junk meals they had been consuming throughout their respective pandemic-related quarantines. In April, the 2 agreed to a catchweight of 195 kilos — slightly than a 185-pound middleweight bout — so neither needed to weight-reduction plan.
The 2 genuinely like one another, however there is no doubt the time for quips can be over after they enter the Octagon for the primary occasion of UFC Struggle Evening on Saturday night time in Abu Dhabi.
ESPN has Whittaker ranked No. 2 and Until ranked No. 6 on the planet at middleweight.
Whittaker (20-5) has not fought since dropping the middleweight title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243 final October. The New Zealand-born Australia resident was on a nine-fight profitable streak previous to that and had held gold since 2017. Whittaker, 29, was the primary Aussie to win a UFC title.
Until (18-2-1) moved as much as middleweight from welterweight and beat Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244 final November. The England native had misplaced two straight earlier than that, to Jorge Masvidal and Tyron Woodley in a welterweight title bout. Until, 27, was undefeated earlier than falling to Woodley.
Within the co-main occasion, Brazilian legends will meet in a trilogy bout. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua takes on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a light-weight heavyweight battle. Rua (26-11-1) has defeated Nogueira twice and has only one loss in his previous six fights. Nogueira (23-9), a 44-year-old veteran of 19 years in MMA, has mentioned he’ll retire after this bout.
Additionally on the cardboard, former gentle heavyweight title challenger Alexander Gustafsson comes out of retirement and strikes as much as heavyweight to tackle former champion Fabricio Werdum. Plus, former strawweight champion Carla Esparza meets up-and-comer Marina Rodriguez, and high prospect Khamzat Chimaev returns after a wonderful debut two weeks in the past to face Rhys McKee.
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Struggle in progress:
Ladies’s bantamweight: Bethe Correia (11-4-1, 5-4-1 UFC, +130) vs. Pannie Kianzad (13-5, 1-2 UFC, -150)
Welterweight: Ramazan Emeev (19-4, 4-1 UFC) defeats Niklas Stolze (12-4, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous choice
Recap to come back.
Males’s bantamweight: Nathaniel Wooden (17-4, 4-1 UFC) defeats John Castaneda (17-5, 0-1 UFC) by unanimous choice
Nathaniel Wooden and John Castaneda commerce large blows in the midst of Spherical 2 of their bout at UFC Struggle Evening.
Coming off a momentum-killing defeat earlier this 12 months, Wooden received himself proper again into the movement with a poised and relentless assault.
Strong efficiency right here from @TheProspectMMA Good showcase of his hanging in opposition to a tricky opponent.
— michael (@bisping) July 25, 2020
The 26-year-old out of London, who noticed an eight-fight profitable streak ended by a John Dodson left hook in February, didn’t have it straightforward in opposition to Castaneda, however his fluid motion and array of punches and kicks from all angles received him again on the profitable monitor. All three judges scored the struggle 30-27.
Castaneda, 28 and out of Minnesota, placed on a powerful efficiency in his UFC debut. He received hit so much, bloodied within the second spherical, however by no means stopped coming ahead and clipped Wooden on many events. He simply couldn’t string collectively the type of mixtures that saved Wooden a step forward.
Watch this on ESPN+.
Nonetheless to come back:
Middleweight: Robert Whittaker (21-5, 11-Three UFC, -125) vs. Darren Until (18-2-1, 6-2-1 UFC, +105)
Gentle heavyweight: Mauricio Rua (26-11-1, 11-8-1 UFC, -185) vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (23-9, 6-6 UFC, +165)
Heavyweight: Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1, 9-Four UFC, +285) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (18-6, 12-Four UFC, -350)
Strawweight: Carla Esparza (17-6, 7-Four UFC, +160) vs. Marina Rodriguez (12-0-2, 3-0-2 UFC, -180)
Gentle heavyweight: Paul Craig (12-4-1, 4-4-1 UFC, -130) vs. Gadzhimurad Antigulov (20-6, 2-2 UFC, +110)
Welterweight: Alex Oliveira (20-8-1, -170) vs. Peter Sobotta (17-6-1, 4-2 UFC, 10-6-1 UFC, +150)
Welterweight: Khamzat Chimaev (7-0, 1-Zero UFC, -1400) vs. Rhys McKee (10-2-1, 0-Zero UFC, +800)
Light-weight: Francisco Trinaldo (25-7, 15-6 UFC, -145) vs. Jai Herbert (10-1, 0-Zero UFC, +125)
Welterweight: Nicolas Dalby (18-3-1, 2-2-1 UFC, -250) vs. Jesse Ronson (21-10, 0-2 UFC, +210)
Heavyweight: Tom Aspinall (7-2, 0-Zero UFC -235) vs. Jake Collier (11-4, 3-Three UFC, +195)
Males’s featherweight: Movsar Evloev (12-0, 2-Zero UFC, -190) vs. Mike Grundy (12-1, 1-Zero UFC, +170)
Heavyweight: Tanner Boser (18-6-1, 2-1 UFC, -250) vs. Raphael Pessoa (10-1, 1-1 UFC, +210)
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