HOUSTON — One of the most anticipated rematches in UFC middleweight history is now official.
Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker both weighed 184 pounds Friday morning for their title fight Saturday night. Adesanya will defend his belt against Whittaker, the former champ, in the main event of UFC 271 here at Toyota Center.
ESPN has Adesanya ranked No. 2 and Whittaker No. 9 on its MMA pound-for-pound rankings. At middleweight, Adesanya is No. 1 and Whittaker is No. 2.
Adesanya (21-1) beat Whittaker for the title via second-round knockout at UFC 243 in October 2019. The Nigerian-born New Zealander is undefeated in his career at middleweight, with his only loss coming at light heavyweight in a UFC title fight against Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 last March. Adesanya, 32, has three UFC middleweight title defenses.
Whittaker (23-5) has won three straight after dropping the title to Adesanya three years ago. The New Zealand-born Australian has won 12 of his past 13 fights overall. Whittaker, 31, held the interim or undisputed UFC middleweight title from 2017 to 2019. “The Reaper,” an Ultimate Fighter winner a decade ago, was the UFC’s first-ever Australian champion.
Both co-main event fighters also made weight Friday morning. Derrick Lewis, fighting in his adopted hometown, weighed in right at the non-title heavyweight limit of 266 pounds, and opponent Tai Tuivasa was 265 pounds. ESPN has Lewis ranked No. 4 in the world at heavyweight.
Lewis (26-8, 1 NC) has won five out of six, with the lone loss coming to Ciryl Gane in an interim heavyweight title fight last August at UFC 265. Tuivasa (13-3) has won four straight, all by KO/TKO, after a three-fight losing streak.
William Knight missed weight by 12 pounds, coming in at 218 pounds for a light heavyweight bout. Knight will be fined 40% of his purse, and his bout with Maxim Grishin will go on as a heavyweight fight. Grishin weighed in at 206 pounds.
Alex Perez missed weight at 128 pounds — 2 pounds over the non-title flyweight limit — on his first attempt. His bout with Matt Schnell, who weighed 126 pounds, was canceled because of Perez’s weight management issues, per the UFC. Schnell did not accept the fight after Perez missed weight, UFC officials said.