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UFC 271: The Stylebender Abides

Israel Adesanya may be MMA’s single biggest star not named Conor. Let’s get set for UFC 271 by looking at his ability to drive PPV buys and gate revenue, plus what’s at stake vs. Robert Whittaker.

UPDATE 2/14: UFC 271 generated a reported $4,300,000 in live gate revenue, the second-highest recorded figure for an Israel Adesanya main event.

From a certain point of view, Israel Adesanya may be “just like you.” He’s really into cars. He’s a huge (and I mean MASSIVE) anime nerd. He’s lived out an absolutely triumphant immigrant story.

But unlike you, he kicks people in the face and gets paid for it. For his MMA handiwork informed by a background in kickboxing, he wears UFC middleweight gold around his waist. And on Saturday night at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas, the man known as The Last Stylebender can take his legend one step further with a title defense against the man he won the belt from in the first place in 2019: Robert Whittaker.

Let’s get set for UFC 271.

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Here’s what should be on your radar for Saturday night in Houston, with an odds assist from FanDuel Sportsbook:

  • Adesanya (champion, -290 at FanDuel) vs. Whittaker (+235) for the UFC middleweight (185-pound) title
  • Two fearsome, hard-hitting heavyweights, Derrick Lewis (-188) and Tai Tuivasa (+158), in a “swang-and-bang” bout with serious knockout potential
  • Jared Cannonier (-172) vs. Derek Brunson (+144) in a middleweight scrap with major implications on the future of the title challenger conversation
  • Rising star “King” Casey O’Neill (-360) meeting veteran Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi (+290) in what she’s announced as her retirement bout
FanDuel Sportsbook’s method of victory props for Adesanya vs. Whittaker 2 at UFC 271 (as of Feb. 11)

For Adesanya, the Whittaker rematch marks the seventh time he’s headlined a UFC PPV. If he’s victorious, he’ll have four successful 185-pound title defenses. That’s a terrific accomplishment, but admittedly a far cry from middleweight (and possibly all-time) GOAT Anderson Silva’s 10.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at Izzy’s history in pay-per-view main events — the first coming against none other than Silva himself — including PPV buys and live gate revenue.

Israel Adesanya’s PPV Main Event History

UFC 263
  • Date: June 12, 2021
  • Venue: Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona
  • Main event: Defeats Marvin Vettori to defend UFC middleweight title
  • Gate revenue: $4,200,000
  • PPV buys: 600,000
UFC 259
  • Date: March 6, 2021
  • Venue: UFC APEX, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Main event: Loses to Jan Blachowicz for UFC light heavyweight title
  • Gate revenue: None (event took place behind closed doors due to COVID-19)
  • PPV buys: 800,000
UFC 253
  • Date: Sept. 26, 2020
  • Venue: UFC Fight Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
  • Main event: Defeats Paulo Costa to defend UFC middleweight title
  • Gate revenue: None (event took place behind closed doors due to COVID-19)
  • PPV buys: 700,000
https://youtu.be/tF3ut9PGbQI
UFC 248
  • Date: March 7, 2020
  • Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Main event: Defeats Yoel Romero to defend UFC middleweight title
  • Gate revenue: $2,742,906.20
  • PPV buys: Not publicized
UFC 243
  • Date: Oct. 5, 2019
  • Venue: Marvel Stadium, Melbourne, Australia
  • Main event: Defeats Robert Whittaker to win UFC middleweight title
  • Gate revenue: $5,478,345
  • PPV buys: Not publicized
UFC 234
  • Date: Feb. 9, 2019
  • Venue: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
  • Main event: Defeats Anderson Silva (promoted from co-main event after originally scheduled Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum middleweight championship bout was cancelled)
  • Gate revenue: $2,470,088
  • PPV buys: 175,000
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