UFC on ESPN 14 Odds: Whittaker Narrowly Favored vs. Till in Middleweight Showdown

Posted on: July 25, 2020, 01:00h. 

Last updated on: July 27, 2020, 07:50h.

Robert Whittaker faces a difficult challenge if he wants to bounce back from losing his middleweight title, as he takes on No. 5 contender Darren Till in the main event of UFC on ESPN 14 this Saturday.

UFC on ESPN 14
Robert Whittaker throws a punch at Israel Adesanya during their fight at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia on Oct. 6, 2019. (Image: EPA)

When Whittaker last stepped into the Octagon, he lost his belt to Israel Adesanya, who knocked out the former champion in the second round at UFC 243.

That loss wasn’t nearly enough to knock Whittaker (20-5) out of the title picture. But the 29-year-old will need to beat Till this weekend if he wants to stay on the shortlist of contenders in the middleweight division.

Whittaker enters the bout as a -135 favorite over Till (+108), according to PointsBet.

Whittaker Rebounds

Whittaker considered retirement after the loss to Adesanya. But after taking time to reflect on his situation, he regained his hunger for competition.

It was a natural decision,” Whittaker told Yahoo Sports. “It was a combination of me talking to my team, of me talking to my family. Soul Searching. It was a mixture of the lot. That’s the journey of this sport, to just get better.”

Till (18-2-1) has lost two of his past three fights but is looking to work his way into the middleweight title picture. Till says a win over Whittaker should immediately rocket him into a championship fight.

“If I win, I’m fighting Israel Adesanya, and that’s all there is to it,” Till told reporters on Tuesday’s media day. “If I beat Whittaker, I don’t want to hear any name come out of anybody’s mouth other than Israel Adesanya.”

Rua, Nogueira Finish Trilogy 

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will look to beat Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for a third time in the UFC on ESPN 14 co-main event. Rua enters as a -195 favorite over Nogueira (+155) in the light heavyweight fight.

The two men first fought while in Pride FC in 2005, then took a rematch in the UFC in 2015. Rua won by unanimous decision on both occasions.

“I fought Nogueira [at] the start of my career, the middle, and the final,” Rua told reporters on Tuesday. “I’m happy because Rogerio is a legend of the sport, and I know this fight motivates him. But for me, too, and I’m very happy for this fight.”

The 44-year-old Nogueira has announced that this will likely be his final professional MMA fight.

I think it’s a good time to stop now. I think it’s going to be the last one,” Nogueira told reporters. “In my last three years, it was very difficult to train, because I had a herniated disc. I had to cancel a lot of fights. Every year I fought one time, then the second one I would have to cancel.”

Also on the UFC on ESPN 14 card, Fabricio Werdum (+260) takes on Alexander Gustafsson (-350) in a heavyweight tilt, while the undefeated Marina Rodriguez (-185) is favored over Carla Esparza (+145) in women’s strawweight action.