Israel Adesanya
The Style Bender


New undisputed middleweight king
October 5, 2019
Adesanya became the new undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion Saturday, defeating Robert Whittaker via KO (punches) at 3:33 of Round 2 at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia.
Not only did Adesanya defeat Whittaker, but he made it look ridiculously easy and won a $50,000 performance bonus along the way. Going up against a fighter who hadn't lost a fight in more than 5.5 years, Adesanya leaned on his biggest strengths -- unorthodox striking, counter punching, and length -- to score the biggest victory of his career. He forced Whittaker to seek the knockout as opposed to trying to land combinations, and the finish came after Israel responded to a shot from Whittaker with a perfectly placed one-two of his own. Whittaker hung on for a couple seconds, but Adesanya pounced on him with more strikes and referee Marc Goddard was calling off the action just moments later. A UFC competitor for less than two years, Adesanya is a perfect 7-0 with the company and the new undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Adesanya's first title defense will almost certainly be against hard hitting Brazilian knockout artist Paulo Costa. That should be a fascinating matchup, as Costa hits as hard as any fighter in the division.
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Israel Adesanya
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Slight favorite at UFC 243
October 1, 2019
Adesanya enters as a slight betting favorite of approximately (-115) for his middleweight championship matchup against Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 on Saturday in Melbourne, Australia.
This is the type of line that could swing with just one big bet, and can essentially be called a pick'em. Adesanya has looked better and better each time he's entered the Octagon, using his kickboxing background to accumulate a perfect 17-0 professional MMA record. He's competed six times under the UFC banner, with five post-fight bonuses to show for it. Even given his background, Adesanya has been able to stay on his feet against wrestlers, sporting a 85 percent takedown defense (even after being taken down five times in his first two fights). He may not have the same the same caliber of fighters on his resume as Whittaker, but oddsmakers appear to be factoring in momentum here. He's fought four times since Whittaker last took the cage in June of 2018, as Whittaker has had to deal with hand and hernia injuries since he made his last title defense.
Unification bout in Melbourne confirmed
June 19, 2019
Adesanya is in line to take on UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in Melbourne, Australia on October 5, Rafael Marinho of Combate reports.
Adesanya took control of the interim middleweight title in April with a unanimous decision victory over Kelvin Gastelum in a contest that took home Fight of the Night honors. Adesanya was credited with 109 significant strikes in the victory, as well as his fifth post-fight bonus in six opportunities with the company. While Whittaker has many more UFC fights under his belt, Adesanya recorded more than 150 professional kickboxing fights before starting his MMA career, so the experience difference isn't quite what it looks like on paper. Adesanya may eventually struggle against an elite wrestler, but he has a 85 percent takedown defense to date, and Whittaker averages just 0.37 takedowns per 15 minutes. Effectively, look for this fight to play out on the fight, where Adesanya will have a four-inch height and seven-inch reach advantage. Statistically, Whittaker is the higher-volume striker, but Adesanya is the more accurate one, and has also been able to absorb less punishment. Expect a sellout crowd for this one, as Adesanya calls New Zealand home, while Whittaker hails from Sydney, Australia. Plenty of fantasy points should be scored in this five-round affair.
Digs deep to win Interim UFC Middleweight Championship
April 13, 2019
Adesanya became the new Interim UFC Middleweight Champion on Saturday, defeating Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46) at UFC 236 in Atlanta.
With the fight tied at 46 after four rounds, Adesanya turned on the jets in the fifth and final frame to finally pull away. Israel earned the win, but it didn't come easily. He absorbed far more damage than his previous fights, and he was seemingly on his last legs late in Round 4. Yet, in between rounds he managed to find his second win and put Gastelum away. Adesanya won the total strike battle by a count of 135-68, but 57 of those came in Round 5. In other words, this was a dead heat until the last round, so it wasn't surprising to see both men take home post-fight bonuses. Perhaps most impressive was the fact Adesanya stuffed eight of nine takedown attempts from Kelvin and the one time he did get taken to the mat, he got right back up. We all knew Adesanya was a world-class striker, but he also has a terrific chin and his grappling game in much improved. He is going to be difficult to beat moving forward. A unification bout with Robert Whittaker later in 2019 is up next for "The Last Stylebender".
Gets his first shot at UFC gold
February 19, 2019
Adesanya will take on Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight title at UFC 236 on April 13, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
Adesanya was in the cage very recently, picking up a relatively painless victory over aging UFC legend Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 234. He won the striking battle 65 to 31 en route to a unanimous decision win. "The Last Stylebender" has been clear about his title aspirations since then, and the UFC will grant that wish by giving him a shot at Gastelum. Gastelum had been in line to face champion Robert Whittaker on the same card, but Whittaker was a late withdrawal after undergoing emergency hernia surgery. The real champ will be sidelined over a month as a result, and the UFC decided to book an interim fight instead. It's as good of a matchup as Adesanya could have hoped for in this spot. Neither fighter is interested in wrestling much, as Adesanya has yet to secure a takedown in his UFC tenure, and Gastelum hasn't been credited with one since November of 2015. Assuming the fight stays on the feet, Adesanya will look to keep Gastelum at bay with seven-inch height and nine-inch reach advantages. Gastelum is most dangerous when he gets into boxing range, but that will be much easier said than done against a fighter of Adesanya's length. Whoever ends up on top in this one will get the first shot at Robert Whittaker in a unification belt, as soon as "Bobby Knuckles" is healthy.
Faces down a legend in the main event of UFC 234
February 9, 2019
Adesanya defeated Anderson Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27. 30-27) at UFC 234 on Saturday in Melbourne.
Adesanya had a little bit more trouble than expected with Silva, but he ended up pulling out the decision. He did a good job of leading in the striking against the legend, but he also ate some strikes. In the first and third rounds, Adesanya was clearly the better striker, but the second round was somewhat close. When it was all said and done, the two men each took home $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses for the show they put on. With the victory, Adesanya put himself in position for a middleweight title shot. The UFC will likely try to remake the fight between champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, but Adesanya should likely get the next opportunity.