Luke Rockhold appreciates Israel Adesanya’s unorthodox style and respects him as a fighter but believes he is a particularly bad matchup for the middleweight champion.
Rockhold believes he could pick Adesanya apart from the outside while keeping ‘The Last Stylebender’ guessing with takedowns, claiming that the key to victory is to stay relaxed and composed.
“I know what Israel’s capable of. I’ve been studying Israel for a long time,” Rockhold told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto in a recent interview. “I appreciate his style, but I think he’s beatable in so many ways. I don’t think many guys can fight him from the outside like I can.”
“If I just stay relaxed and stay on the outside, it’s a game that I can play,” he continued. “And then if we go into the takedowns, I’ll do it a lot better than Jan did. I’ll tell you that.”
Blachowicz beat Adesanya utlilizing a similar strategy to the one outlined by Rockhold above, but not everyone has Jan’s legendary Polish power.
Rockhold may feel he has the style to beat Adesanya, but the former Strikeforce and UFC middleweight champ needs to get back in the Octagon and pick up a win first. The UFC vet took a two-year hiatus after suffering back-to-back knockout losses to Yoel Romero and Jan Blachowicz in 2018/2019 and is expected to return to the cage later this year against a TBA opponent.
Adesanya, meanwhile, will defend his title against top-three middleweight Marvin Vettori at UFC 263 on June 12. The highly-anticipated PPV takes place at at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.