Israel Adesanya is arguably the hottest prospect in all of mixed martial arts right now. Adesanya, 29, is on the cusp of a middleweight championship opportunity and has everything the UFC is looking for in a superstar. It is not hard to see why, just take a look at these six “Stylebender” fights.
Adesanya vs. Brunson: Adesanya made a believer out of his critics following his one-sided decision over Brad Tavares. It was this first-round knockout of Derek Brunson at UFC 230, however, that proved Adesanya was deserving of a truly elite opponent in the UFC’s shark-infested middleweight division.
Adesanya vs. Guillard: The Nigerian-New Zealand fighter was familiar with UFC caliber competition before he ever stepped under the bright lights of mixed martial art’s biggest promotion. He fought Kenan Song, who is 2-1 in the UFC’s welterweight division since signing in 2017, back in 2015. More recently, Adesanya beat 22-UFC fight veteran Melvin Guillard for the AFC middleweight championship. That was Adesanya’s second-last fight before signing with the UFC.
Adesanya vs. Qing: Here is an interesting and somewhat obscure finish. Adesanya’s fifth professional MMA fight was against Gele Qing at Wu Lin Feng 2015: New Zealand vs. China in Auckland. A visibly tired Qing landed a solid punch on Adesanya’s chin in the closing moments of the bout. Unfortunately, Qing sort of flopped to his back in exhaustion soon after and suffered a fight-ending barrage of ground-and-pound elbows.
Adesanya vs. Griffiths: Where it all started. Adesanya is not one of those fighters who transitioned from professional kickboxing to professional mixed martial arts. The middleweight phenom actually took his first professional MMA fight after his first recorded professional kickboxing bout. That fight was against James Griffiths at Supremacy Fighting Championship 9 in 2012 and, as you can probably imagine, it did not end well for Griffiths.
Adesanya vs. Belgaroui: A taste of Adesanya outside of MMA. “The Last Stylebender” last had his hand raised in kickboxing at Glory’s Middleweight Contender Tournament Finals vs. Yousri Belgaroui. The closely contested three round fight resulted in a split decision win for Adesanya.
Adesanya vs. Eades: Adesanya has said his King in the Ring fights are among the most fun to watch. Look no farther than this first-round knockout of Jamie Eades at 2014’s King in the Ring 86 – The Cruiserweights II, Final.
Bonus: The only thing more impressive than Adesanya’s head movement and footwork is his A-plus social media game. Whether he is creating memes or sharing incredible animated artwork, the man sure knows how to make the most of these silly millennial passions. (P.S. the first Instagram post has several entries, just click the arrow on the right side of the image/video, about half way down).
View this post on Instagram
Mixed Martial Arts...Martial Arts...Arts I am a creative. Those who do not have an #imagination ( ) cannot perceive my reality. Shoutout to @kutkraft & @blackprintfx on keeping their imagination alive in a world that tries to kill creatives. Make it burn dem #manga #anime #thelaststylebender
Adesanya faces the legendary Anderson Silva in UFC 234’s co-main event. The winner of the past vs. future dream fight will likely face the winner of Sunday’s main event: Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum.