CAPE TOWN - Africa’s son, Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya (21-1) continued his reign as king of the UFC middleweight division after beating old foe, Italy’s Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) for a second time at UFC263 this morning.
With their first fight ending in a split decision, this one, being a championship bout after Israel earned the undisputed title five fights later - went down in similar fashion only with the champion sealing his dominance and getting the unanimous decision.
In the main event, under the bright lights of the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Israel utilized those lethal leg kicks subduing the wrestling attacks of Marvin.
When the Italian did manage to get a handful of takedowns, he failed to capitalise on them and just basically wrapped his arms around Israel for most of the time and most of the takedowns and attempts were reversed by the champion.
Italian fans’ only real moment of joy in the fight was somewhere in the third round when Marvin managed to find Israel’s back almost sinking in the rear-naked choke, with both men being sweaty, compounded Israel’s good technique, the champion again managed to work his way out of the position and defuse any threat.
Israel remained calm and composed throughout the bout even when Marvin applied front-foot pressure, slipping and ducking his way from any stand-up attacks, the now-New Zealander - in true fashion - delivered some finesse and combinations to secure those important points that saw the fight end in a 50-45 50-45 50-45 results.
“I actually was in cruise control. There was a point where my coach had to yell at me, “Don’t get bored!” and I was like, “Oh yeah, true, stay focused,” Adesanya said in his post fight interview with the UFC.
“I don’t even know what round it was, but I had to stay focused. I had fun out there. I felt no threat. Even when he had my back, I was not threatened at all. Not even in the slightest. There was a point when I reversed that… I spun inside his guard and I held him in a choke, that sexy choke, I looked into his eyes and I said to him, “You’re scared, aren’t you?”, because I saw that look in his eyes. I swear to God, I’ll never forget that look. I saw his soul leave his body and I said, “You’re scared, aren’t you?”. That was very satisfying,” he added.
Shortly after the fight, Israel made a lovely gesture by placing the belt on the canvas of the octagon and dedicated the fight to his late friend and City Kickboxing gym mate, Fau Vake, who was sadly killed earlier this year.
He then proceeded to call out former middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker (23-5), whom he beat to earn the undisputed title back in 2019.
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