Israel Adesanya needed less than two rounds to capture the undisputed middleweight championship, but he said the unification bout could have ended as early as the opening round.
Marching as the underdog for the first time in his career, ‘The Last Stylebender’ stunned the home crowd at the Marvel Stadium last Sunday, consisting of 57000 strong fans, after a second-round knockout of Robert Whittaker.
Adesanya picked up from where he left off in the Kelvin Gastelum fight and turned to his striking prowess to finish Australia’s local hero with powerful punches.
The UFC awarded the kickboxing phenom the Performance Of The Night honour as Adesanya showed the MMA world why he is one of the brightest stars in the league right now.
Staying undefeated, Adesanya stretch his winning streak to 18-0 including a perfect 7-0 run in his first 20 months in the UFC.
Israel Adesanya extended his perfect professional record to 18-0 as he dethroned UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker at #UFC243
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) October 6, 2019
In the post-fight press conference, the undisputed champion said the finish was proof of his knockout power, something MMA fans do not see in his game.
“I just showed you guys I can take it and give it as well,” he told the media, per MMA Fighting.
“Apparently, because I’ve got no knockout power, and I’ve got pillow hands. Boo-oo.”
“When I saw him walk out, he was too intense.”
“You can’t fake that s*it. You can put your hoodie over your eyes and (beat your chest) all you want. It’s pheromones. I can smell it off him.”
Adesanya claimed that he can feel Whittaker’s energy from the onset, but his opponent’s gameplan became so predictable.
“It’s like, he’s not with it. He was doing the right moves, but there was no feeling behind it. So I saw everything coming.”
“I was like, don’t look at the TV – look at me. You’ve got to worry about me right now.”
“I could have rested on my laurels and be like, ‘I dropped him, and I’m going to rush him now.’ Nah. He’s a beast.”
“If I try and fight dumb and try and go for the finish right now, he could catch me and lay me the f*ck out.”
🏆 🇳🇿🇳🇬 pic.twitter.com/pqUIBCpx1p
— UFC (@ufc) October 6, 2019
Despite the huge victory, Adesanya regretted that he was not able to put the finishing touches on Whittaker before the bell went off in the first.
“What makes him great makes him really vulnerable and susceptible to a lot of things.”
“It looked like he hit me. But what I was doing was bending my knee – not ‘Triple C’ – just bringing it in, like when someone tries to attack you and you take it away.”
“I knew he was going to start fast, and I just had to take my time.”
“I held my fist up.”
“That’s stupid. I should have punched him until the referee jumped on him. I guess the referee saved him on that one.”
— BJ Penn (@bjpenndotcom) October 7, 2019
Do you agree with Adesanya that Whittaker was saved by the referee?
(Featured Image Source: Twitter/UFC and YouTube/The Mac Life)