Former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker beat Jared Cannonier via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) in the UFC 254 co-main event Saturday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
With the victory, Whittaker extended his winning streak to two and may go on to face current 185-pound champ Israel Adesanya in a rematch.
Whittaker picked Cannonier apart with punches throughout the three-round contest, proving to be the more technically sound fighter. "The Reaper" also used a few high kicks to outpoint his opponent. Cannonier chopped down Whittaker's lead leg in the early moments, but Whittaker didn't appear hurt by the kicks.
The biggest moment of the fight came as Whittaker rocked Cannonier with a head kick early in the third round. Whittaker pummeled him with strikes and got into full mount, but Cannonier eventually returned to his feet.
Cannonier stunned Whittaker with a right hand late in the frame, but the former champ survived Cannonier's onslaught and made it to the end of the fight.
Whittaker entered the co-main event coming off a July win over Darren Till. He lost the middleweight belt to Adesanya in October 2019 via second-round knockout. The 29-year-old held the title from 2017-19.
Cannonier saw his three-fight winning streak come to an end. This was his first loss in the middleweight division.