Israel Adesanya may very well be the most intriguing up-and-coming talent in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight division.
“The Last Stylebender” continued his ascent in emphatic fashion on Saturday night, as he handily dispatched Derek Brunson via first-round technical knockout in a featured middleweight bout at UFC 230. Adesanya floored his foe on three separate occasions in the opening frame, but it was a perfectly timed knee that set the stage for his onslaught of offense at Madison Square Garden.
“It was an easy night at the office,” Adesanya said. “I told my team that I don’t get to come to New York enough, and I wanted to be able to spend my time here enjoying the city so finishing the job early means I’ve got more time to relax. I have to go back and watch the performance, but I felt great in there. I was taking my time and feeling him out, making him chase so I could time my shots.
“That knee was perfectly timed. You can ask my coaches about that because I’ve been wrecking them with it all week whenever they would shoot during our training sessions.”
Adesanya has now won four consecutive fights in the Octagon, including impressive wins over veterans Brunson and Brad Tavares. That ties him for the third-longest active winning streak at 185 pounds.
With Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum prepared to square off in a middleweight title bout at UFC 234 in February, Adesanya is patiently awaiting the next best opportunity that arises. One thing is clear, the Nigerian striker is only scratching the surface of his talent.
“People may think they know what I can do but tonight was an example that they don’t know. There’s levels to this fight game and I am leveling up over and over,” he said.
“I don’t need to rush. We’ll see how the fights go, we’ll see if Gastelum gets injured and they need a replacement… I’m just going to sit back and observe. I’ll find the right move.”