A plethora of rave reviews is trailing Nigeria’s Ultimate Fighting Challenge (UFC) sensation, Israel Adesanya, following his middleweight world title unification victory in the early hours of Sunday, megasportsarena.com gathered.
The New Zealand-based Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fighter has been dubbed the next big thing, following his sensational knockout victory over Robert Whittaker in their middleweight championship fight during UFC 243 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
An article by Yahoo Sports’ combat columnist, Kevin Iole noted that Adesanaya ‘has the frame of Jon Jones, the dynamism of a prime Anderson Silva and ability to sell a fight like Conor McGregor.’
Iole added: “Israel Adesanya is not only the undisputed middleweight champion after a rousing second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker Saturday before a record crowd of 57,127 at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, in the main event of UFC 243, he’s also a bonafide superstar.
“Guys are going to be moving up from welterweight and down from light heavyweight with the hope of landing a fight with him, because they’ll make their biggest paychecks against him.
“He danced his way to the cage on Saturday, having fun and appearing relaxed as if he was heading to the park to chug a few beers and play a softball game with the guys in the neighborhood. But he fought with the precision and cool of Jones and Silva, two of the greatest to ever set foot in the Octagon.
“It’s always hard to put a finger on what makes someone a star, but you know it when you see it. Fans react to fighters who give them something they can’t get elsewhere and you know the instant you see and hear Adesanya that he has the ability to move people.
“He did an elaborate entrance with three dancers that needed special approval by UFC president Dana White. As Whittaker walked to the cage, Adesanya grooved to the champion’s entrance music.
“He was composed and in his element once the bell sounded, a guy who was where he knew he was meant to be and was doing what he loved. Whittaker tried to close the gap by leaping it and hitting Adesanya with a few jabs, but there was never a moment of worry or look of concern on Adesanya’s face.
“He was moving out of the way of Whittaker’s punches, but not so much so that he took himself out of range. And when the moment presented itself, he took advantage.
“He dropped Whittaker just before the bell sounded to end Round 1, a round that Whittaker probably would have won had Adesanya not landed that shot to drop him.
“The end came just as quickly in the second, when Adesanya avoided a Whitaker shot and hit him with a right hand-left hook combination that finished the fight. Whittaker gave up four inches of height and 6½ inches of reach, and struggled to lay hands on Adesanya.
“Whittaker is a world-class fighter and Adesanya clinically took him apart. Adesanya was like a cobra, waiting for the right moment to lunge forward and strike. As a result, Whittaker had the sense he was in control of the bout.”
After the bout, Whittaker spoke of a rematch, and while he may get one down the line, he didn’t do anything Saturday to make the UFC believe the outcome would be any different.
Whittaker said: “He’s tricky to hit. He’s very tall and he’s good at leaning back. I was doing well until I wasn’t;” and Adesanya responded, saying: “Right now, I’m Hollywood.”