UFC news 2022: Robert Whittaker enacts brutal revenge after Marvin Vettori handshake snub video

UFC

He’s called “The Reaper” for a reason.

Former UFC champion Robert Whittaker put together a near-flawless performance in Sunday morning’s co-main event at Accor Arena, securing a unanimous victory over Italy’s Marvin Vettori in Paris.

Whittaker showed the full range of his skills in the first-ever UFC card in the French capital, commanding the Octagon and enacting revenge after Vettori’s cheeky snub during their face-off at Saturday’s ceremonial weigh-in.

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Former title challenger Vettori rejected Whittaker’s handshake attempt and mocked his Australian rival with a wagging finger a few choice words.

But the taunt backfired dramatically the following day, with Whittaker putting together an utterly dominant performance in front of a packed Parisian crowd.

Whittaker, who is eyeing a trilogy fight with New Zealand champion Israel Adesanya, rarely looked troubled in the middleweight bout, with the judges scoring the fight 30-27 x 2, 29-28.

The Australian had Vettori rapidly back-pedalling after a brutal kick in second round to daze the Italian.

Vettori seemed to be struggling with his left hand, and the 28-year-old hardly landed a blow in the third and final round.

The judges’ verdict was a formality – Whittaker’s victory was never in doubt.

“I’m stoked with it,” he said about his performance.

“All respect to Vettori, that’s why I had to push back the fight the first time because I needed the fitness to be able to hurt him the whole time, he did not go away, I was hurting him.

“Trust me, I hit pretty hard, I know I go to a lot of decisions but I hit pretty hard and credit to him.”

Whittaker and Vettori were meant to face off several months ago, but an injury to the Australian during his training camp delayed the bout.

The win keeps Whittaker at the top of the division, and the 31-year-old will be keeping a close eye on November’s title fight between Adesanya and Alex Pereira in UFC 281.

“Including the champion, I’m the most dangerous man in the division,” Whittaker said.

“I make people hate fighting. As for what’s next, I’m always gunning for that top spot.

“I’m always going to be lurking there waiting.”

Later in the main event, compatriot Tai Tuivasa suffered a TKO loss to France’s Ciryl Gane, knocked to the floor in front of 15,405 rowdy spectators.

In one of the most entertaining bouts of his career, Tuivasa sent the vocal crowd into a frenzy after dropping Gane in the second round, only for the local hero to secure the comeback victory a few minutes later.

UFC Paris Main card

Ciryl Gane defeated Tai Tuivasa — via KO — heavyweight

Robert Whittaker defeated Marvin Vettori — via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28) — middleweight

Nassourdine Imavov defeated Joaquin Buckley — via unanimous decision (29-28 x 2, 30-27) — middleweight

Roman Koplyov defeated Alessio Di Chirico — via KO — middleweight

William Gomis defeated Jarno Errens — via majority decision (29-28 x 2, 29-29) — featherweight

Nathaniel Wood defeated Charles Jourdain — via unanimous decision (30-27 x 2, 29-28) — featherweight

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