UFC superstar Israel Adesanya dominated and stopped previously unbeaten contender Paulo Costa on Saturday in the main event of UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi. After dumping the Brazilian to the floor with a pristine left hand, the 31-year-old striking savant finished the job at 3:59 of the second round.
“I don’t know him personally,” Adesanya said after the fight. “I don’t wish he dies or anything. He’s alive. I let him be alive.”
GOODNIGHT COSTA 👊 😴pic.twitter.com/b7oDOSXP4E
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) September 27, 2020
Is Adesanya Best Fighter in UFC?
It was a brilliant performance by one of the most dominant forces in the UFC today.
In fact, after Adesanya’s demolition job on Costa was complete, debates were going around about whether Adesanya deserved to be ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound over Jon Jones and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
That’s how brilliant “The Last Stylebender” was at UFC 253. He was so much better than supposedly the next best guy in the division that the fight wasn’t even all the competitive.
By the end of the night, Adesanya had remained the unbeaten and undisputed 185-pound champion of the world.
Bleacher Report’s Tom Taylor hailed him as a rising superstar:
He’s no Conor McGregor, but when I talk about MMA with people who don’t follow the sport closely, he’s one of the guys who tend to come up. Considering this is still something of a fringe sport, that’s a pretty good indicator that a fighter is catching on. The UFC 4 cover spot, the sponsorship deal with Puma, and the three million-plus Instagram followers are also good indicators that he’s already a big deal.
Impressively, the Nigerian-born Kiwi is already drawing comparison to legendary middleweight champ Anderson Silva, who defended his middleweight title 10 times against stalwart opposition.
Those are some seriously big shoes to fill, but Adesanaya’s overall resume is already starting to look sharp just two defenses into his reign.
Unbeaten. Undisputed. pic.twitter.com/fd63ZDV3EO
— UFC (@ufc) September 28, 2020
Champ Is Tough, Charitable and More
After the fight, Adesanya reminded everyone that he had promised to make it “look easy” against Costa.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 27, 2020
And who will be able to forget this visual anytime soon?
The real RAWDOG!! https://t.co/4aSeOekUFf
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) September 27, 2020
But as tough as the champ has been on his felled opponent Costa since defeating him over the weekend, Adesanya has been just as charitable to his fans and team.
Heck, Adesanya even thanked the media for what they do. That hardly ever happens.
“Thank you guys for what you do,” Adesanya said.
Israel Adesanya's message to the media. pic.twitter.com/U3O6C3eWO5
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) September 27, 2020
ESPN’s Jon Anik revealed Adesanya even gave his up his first-class seat back to Las Vegas so one of his cornermen could enjoy the ride there instead.
“Total package, that guy,” Anik said.
Flew back to Las Vegas with the still undisputed king of the middleweights and you won’t be at all surprised to learn that Israel Adesanya gave his first-class seat to one of his cornermen. Total package, that guy.
— Jon Anik (@Jon_Anik) September 28, 2020
Next Fight for Adesanya
So now Adesanya is starting to turn his attention toward his next fight. No matter who emerges to face the UFC middleweight champ next, Adesanya is likely to be a massive favorite.
Regardless, the champ is ready for his next title defense, and he already has his preference.
“[Jared] Cannonier, I want Cannonier next,” Adesanya said after his win.
UFC president Dana White seemed to agree with that idea at the post-fight press conference.
“That’s the fight if Cannonier wins,” White said per MMA Fighting. “And I love that about Israel. He’s ready for who’s next, who else thinks they can beat me. The kid is an absolute stud.”
Cannonier is set to take on former champ Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 on October 24. If he wins that fight, Cannonier would be in the pole position to be Adesanya’s next opponent.
After his huge win, Adesanya revealed he’d be ready for whoever whenever.
“I know this game,” Adesanya said. “I don’t just play this on EA Sports. I play this for real, so when I do this, I know what I’m talking about.”
He sure does.
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