Robbie Whittaker has claimed a career-defining victory in the Octagon, defeating Ronaldo Souza with a barrage of punches in the second round to send a jolt through the middleweight division.
Whittaker (19-4) was a big underdog against the Brazilian on the UFC Fight Night undercard at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri, but the New Zealand-born Australian stunned his rival after a tactical first round, dropping him with a right hand 30 seconds into the second before hitting him with a right high kick and unloading with about 90 seconds left to force the stoppage.
"A lot of people let the hype get in their heads given he's a legend of jiu-jitsu and MMA," Whittaker said after the fight of his underdog status. "At the end of the day, it's not a grappling match. It's not a jiu-jitsu match."
The victory was Whittaker's sixth in succession since moving to 185 pounds, and Brett Okamoto reported that he called out world No. 1 Michael Bisping after the bout; the Englisman pulled out of a scheduled fight in 2015 with an injury.
"Bisping owes me a fight," Whittaker said. "We were supposed to fight all those weeks ago and he's cool doing his own thing, but you owe me a fight."
Whittaker told ESPN exclusively before the fight that he was confident he had enjoyed the right preparation to record his biggest win yet.