Mount Annan UFC fighter loses long-held middleweight title

Fight's over: Whittaker was confident heading into Sunday's match against Adesanya but was bested by the New Zealander with a technical knock out. Picture: Facebook
Fight's over: Whittaker was confident heading into Sunday's match against Adesanya but was bested by the New Zealander with a technical knock out. Picture: Facebook

Robert Whittaker had declared "war" against his opponent in Sunday night's UFC bout.

But the Mount Annan fighter was subjected to a brutal match which ended with New Zealander Israel Adesanya snatching Whittaker's middleweight crown.

This was the first time Whittaker had set foot in the MMA ring after withdrawing from his scheduled fight with Kevin Gastelum earlier this year due to a sports hernia.

Whittaker took to Facebook after the press conference to thank his fans.

"I just want to say thank you for all the love and support I have felt from everybody, it honestly makes me love what I do," said.

"Tonight just wasn't my night, it happens but I'll just come back stronger - I always do."

Sunday's bout at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium was Whittaker's first UFC fight since June 2018, when he defeated Yoel Romero.

Adesanya has had a fast rise in the UFC ring, winning five fights in the span of one year.

Whittaker hit the mat at the end of the first round with Adesanya just as the whistle blew but he wasn't going to give up yet.

The local fighter stepped back in the ring for round two but was bested by the New Zealander with a technical knock out.

Whittaker said in a Facebook video the match was always going to be a tough one.

"I am a little disappointed to say the least but it is what it is" he said.

"Two of the best fighters in the world went in the ring, butted heads and I got clipped.

"I am disappointed but it's not the end of the world."

Whittaker said the fight did not signal the end of his career.

He said he "won't be going anywhere".

"I am 28 and I am one of the best fighters in the world - this is where I belong," Whittaker said.

"I got out there and felt good, I felt strong - I felt great.

"In the press conference they asked me, 'would I have done anything differently?' and the answer is no, I felt great.

"I went out there and I did it like that - and sometimes you lose.

"That's not just in fighting, it's in life too - sometimes you go out there and it rains on you so keep your head up, keep working."