Israel Adesanya favored in UFC 271 rematch with Robert Whittaker

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. (Andy Brownbill/AP)

The UFC middleweight title will be up for grabs at UFC 271 on Saturday, when reigning champion Israel Adesanya enters the octagon for a highly anticipated rematch with Robert Whittaker as a strong -290 favourite on the UFC odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.

Adesanya claimed the undisputed UFC middleweight crown with a second-round KO win over Whittaker in their first meeting at UFC 243, and has successfully defended the title on three subsequent occasions going into this bout at the Toyota Center in Houston.

Adesanya has been a dominant force throughout his career, compiling an unblemished 21-0 record as a middleweight including 10 straight wins at 185 pounds since joining the UFC in February 2018.

The 32-year-old's most recent triumph came last June at UFC 263, where he tallied a unanimous decision win over Marvin Vettori. That marked the seventh time that he has seen a fight go the distance in his 10 UFC contests. However, Adesanya demonstrated his ability to finish by posting KO or TKO wins inside two rounds in his first 10 pro fights.

Listed as a lengthy +230 underdog on the UFC 271 betting lines, Whittaker has earned his shot at reclaiming the UFC middleweight title by posting unanimous decision wins in each of his past three contests.

Whittaker has been idle since claiming a five-round victory over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Vegas 24 that also earned him a Fight of the Night bonus, and he has earned the nod from the judges in nine of his 23 career victories.

Whittaker is also no stranger to marquee rematches. The 31-year-old initially claimed the interim UFC middleweight title with a unanimous decision win over Yoel Romero at UFC 213. And after getting promoted to undisputed champ, he followed up with an entertaining split decision win in their rematch that earned him the fourth of five Fight of the Night bonuses.

Elsewhere on the UFC 271 odds for the weekend, Derrick Lewis looks to build on his UFC record for most knockout wins when he battles fellow heavyweight Tai Tuivasa as -186 chalk. Lewis needed just 3:36 to claim a record-smashing 13th career KO in his last outing against Chris Daukaus at UFC Vegas 45, and has finished opponents inside three rounds in each of his three most recent wins.

Listed as a +151 underdog, Tuivasa is coming off back-to-back knockout wins over Augusto Sakai and Greg Hardy, each of which earned him a Performance of the Night bonus.

Earlier in the evening in Houston, Jared Cannonier will battle Derek Brunson as a -182 betting favourite in middleweight action, while Kyler Phillips clashes with fellow bantamweight Marcelo Rojo as heavy -400 chalk.

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