Some might say that a quick KO is most assertive way to demonstrate superiority to an opponent in MMA — and they have a point — but Israel Adesanya’s coach Eugene Bareman wants to see something different in his rematch with Robert Whittaker this weekend.
The two standout middleweights on the UFC roster will renew rivalries for a second time in the UFC 271 main event late on Saturday night. The first fight ended with an emphatic TKO win for Adesanya, who took Whittaker’s title in the process, but Bareman says that this time he wants his fighter to dominate his rival for a full 25 minutes en route to defending his crown.
“What I would like to happen is just a five-round whitewash, where there is no stoppage this time, but like every round there’s just accumulative, accumulative, accumulative damage and it just leaves no doubt, it just leaves no doubt. It’s just 25 minutes of mastery.”
It could be argued that Adesanya’s first win was so emphatic that it would be difficult to improve upon, and this is a factor which Bareman admits that he and his fighter must be careful of when they walk to cage in Houston, Texas this weekend.
“When you win in that fashion, yeah, that little complacency kind of devil that sits on your shoulder, you’re hyper-aware of it,” he said. “So you really want to not fall victim to it. You kind of almost like push things to the absolute limit because you’ve kind of got that thing on your conscience all the time.
“So, in terms of like motivating him to kind of get up for this fight and train hard, it hasn’t been too difficult. We’ve really emphasized that Robert has more to give, that Robert has more to give, but we haven’t forgotten that Israel had a whole lot more to give as well. So, as Robert gives more, Israel also has much more stuff to give in the fight. So, this fight will be a bit more interesting.”
Bareman also addressed the supposed ‘blueprint’ established by Jan Blachowicz as to how to defeat Adesanya — but said that if Whittaker’s camp think they can just transplant this tactic into their fighter they are much mistaken.
“I think they have a very smart team, these guys,” Bareman said. “I studied them extensively for the first fight, and I quickly figured out that they’re an elite team, they’re a very smart team. They know they cannot transpose what Jan did to Israel. There’s little things you can take, but at the end of the day, you got to work with the athlete that you’ve got in front of you.
“And they understand that they don’t have a Jan in front of them. So, they’re too smart to do that. But yeah, I expect a little bit less panic and a little bit more respect from Robert. I expect him not to be so aggressive this time. That’s the only thing I can kind of take a good calculated guess at.”