Israel Adesanya is already a heavy favorite for his next UFC title defense.
The UFC middleweight champion opened as more than a 2-to-1 betting favorite (-240) to defeat No. 1 contender Robert Whittaker ahead of the pair’s prospective rematch, according odds posted Monday by online bookmaker SportsBetting.ag.
Whittaker opened as a +205 underdog.
The bout is expected to take place in the second half of 2021, potentially in the Oceania region that both Adesanya and Whittaker call home.
Adesanya (21-1) is a perfect 10-0 throughout his UFC middleweight run. He cruised to his third UFC title defense this past Saturday, routing Marvin Vettori in a one-sided decision in UFC 263’s main event and successfully rebounding from the first loss of his MMA career after stumbling to light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259.
Adesanya and Whittaker (23-5) previously collided in a title unification bout at UFC 243, which Adesanya won via highlight-reel second-round knockout. Whittaker has since bounced back to pick up a trio of victories over ranked contenders Darren Till, Jared Cannonier, and Kelvin Gastelum.
Adesanya called out Whittaker following his win over Vettori at UFC 263. UFC president Dana White told reporters on Saturday that the rematch may take place in October.
In the aftermath of Adesanya’s callout, Whittaker responded simply: “Rest up, see you soon.”