Whittaker and Du Plessis to Battle for Middleweight Title Shot at UFC 290
UFC president Dana White has announced that former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker and rising contender Dricus Du Plessis will compete in a No. 1 contender bout at UFC 290 on July 8 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The winner of the bout will earn a title fight against reigning champion Israel Adesanya, which is targeted for later this year in Sydney, Australia.
In a video posted on Twitter, White said, "The winner of that fight will fight Adesanya later this year. And that fight is targeted for Sydney, Australia."
Whittaker, who is ranked No. 3 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie middleweight rankings, will be looking to earn a third shot at Adesanya after losing their first two matchups. He is coming off a unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori in September and will have the chance to secure another title shot during International Fight Week.
Du Plessis, ranked No. 8, has made an impressive start to his UFC career by winning all five of his appearances thus far, including victories over Derek Brunson and Darren Till. He has also been in a feud with Adesanya, and if he can defeat Whittaker, there will be a title fight with a lot of bad blood.
The latest UFC 290 lineup includes several other exciting fights, including Alexander Volkanovski vs. Yair Rodriguez for the featherweight title, Brandon Moreno vs. Alexandre Pantoja for the flyweight title, and Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Manel Kape.