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Dricus du Plessis one victory away from UFC title shot against Israel Adesanya

South African MMA star Dricus du Plessis is one win away from fighting for the UFC middleweight championship.

Former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will face South African Dricus du Plessis in a title eliminator fight at UFC 290.

The Pretoria native has continued to make a big splash in the UFC, earning two performance bonuses in his last four fights. Du Plessis' last TKO win over veteran Derek Brunson in March boosted him to sixth in the current UFC middleweight rankings.

Taking to social media, UFC overlord Dana White announced the bout as part of the upcoming International Fight Week.
"On Saturday, July 8th at UFC 290, we have a middleweight title eliminator," said White.
"Former champion Robert Whittaker - whose only losses in the last nine years are to the champion Israel Adesanya - he will be tasking on Dricus du Plessis. Du Plessis has won seven straight fights and finished six of them.
"The winner of that fight will fight Adesanya later this year… and that fight is targeted for Sydney, Australia."
Whittaker was set for a fight with Brazilian behemoth Paulo Costa in February, but the fight fell through. As such, the Australian's last outing was a dominant decision win over Marvin Vetorri last September.
Meanwhile, du Plessis is coming off a minor surgery to fix a sinus issue that almost completely prevented him from breathing through his nose. His coach Morne Visser even claimed his oxygen intake through his nose was only 8%.
Aside from his wins, the Team CIT Fighter has also made headlines for claiming he will be the "first real African-born UFC champion", pointing out that other champions do not live and train on the continent.

The comments clearly triggered the Nigerian-born Adesanya, who called out the South African without mentioning his name in his UFC 287 post-fight press conference, sparking a rivalry that may well come to fruition should du Plessis put away Whittaker in July.

"So you say I haven't earned my title shot yet?" tweeted the 29-year-old after the fight was announced.

"Hold my beer watch this... #preparetobeamazed #ufc290"

Du Plessis joins a host of stars on a packed UFC 290 card that includes featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski v Yair Rodriguez, flyweight champion Brandon Moreno v Alexandre Pantoja and rising UFC star Bo Nickal v Tresean Gore.
READ MORE: Israel Adesanya on Dricus du Plessis: I will gladly drag his carcass across South Africa

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