Africa: Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya wins UFC Middleweight championship
Few gave him a chance, but Nigerian-born Israel Adesanya has beaten Kelvin Gastelum to claim the Interim UFC Middleweight Championship by unanimous decision.
Adesanya, who is a citizen of New Zealand outlasted Gastelum in a monumental battle, winning a unanimous decision by scores of 48-46 on all three judges’ cards, completing a meteoric 14-month rise to the top of the division.
The Nigerian-New Zealander grew up idolizing Anderson Silva, and the UFC middleweight did a lot of Silva-like things in his bout with Kelvin Gastelum for the interim title Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 236 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
But Adesanya created his own legacy with a brilliant performance in which he had to dig down deeper than he had at any point in his career. The win was his sixth in just 14 months in the UFC, but by far the biggest and most significant.
It was a titanic struggle in which the men laid their souls bare and went after the victory with every ounce of strength and desire that was inside of them. Both were on the ground and both were bleeding and sweating profusely by the time it ended.
The fight was even on all three scorecards heading to the fifth, and Adesanya won it with an incredible striking display. He nearly finished the bout with a triangle choke in one of the many “I can’t believe that!” moments that occurred throughout the fight.
By Femi Ajasa