Israel Adesanya has been active since making his promotional debut in February 2018. After winning four straight UFC fights last year, he went on to add another two important victories in 2019.
Last February, the Kiwi mixed martial arts met the sport’s legend, Anderson Silva, in an epic encounter before he starred in another instant classic last Saturday against Kelvin Gastelum.
With the interim middleweight championship on the line, the pair delivered a fight for the ages.
He needed to pass through the proverbial eye of the needle to eke out a unanimous decision victory.
“It was fun. No, that wasn’t fun. It was fun in the sense that I can see in hindsight like I’m glad I would do that.”
“I take my time. Slowly cooking. People don’t see it, but I knew I was hurting him cause he had a poker face and I gotta go poker face as well,” Adesanya said in a post-fight interview with Megan Olivi.
— UFC (@ufc) April 14, 2019
Adesanya gave his assessment on his opponent and described Gastelum as a tough man who was not scared of him.
“He was a class act. I did my own thing. And I just knew he wasn’t scared. He was gonna bring it.”
“Everyone was saying like ‘Oh there’s a hype train.” I’m in here. I was the one.”
“He was pressing the action, but I was catching him. He caught me a few times, and I never got discouraged. Not one time.”
“It’s rare. I was like in a third person talking to myself.”
“Even at the end of the fourth round, (head coach) Eugene (Bareman) said go that place.”
“Because I’ve been there before in training, when it’s put on you by six, seven, eight guys.
“And I knew if they couldn’t break me, one man couldn’t break me. And he’s one tough man.”
Meet Me At The Car Park
Adesanya has kept his unbeaten pro-MMA record at 16-0 after surviving Gastelum in a thriller.
More importantly, the win sets him up to a date with Robert Whittaker for the undisputed title.
UFC President Dana White said the promotion is currently working to hold the unification bout in September and claimed that Australia might be the venue for the fight.
But for Adesanya, they can actually make the fight happen as early as tomorrow at a parking lot in New Zealand.
“Tomorrow! Meet me at Park N Save. 10 PM, Westfield,” he quipped.
The “Last Sytlebender” has described the unification bout with Whittaker as the biggest event in Aussie sporting history.
He has five months to heal and to prepare against the middleweight champ, who is also known as one of the hard hitters in the competition.
For the first time in his career, Izzy will march into this September fight as the underdog. Betting odds slotted Whittaker as the -185 favourite.
— Stuff.co.nz Sport (@NZStuffSport) April 16, 2019
(Featured Image Source: YouTube/UFC and Instagram/Robert Whittaker)