Someone’s O had to go! And it certainly wasn’t going to be Israel Adesanya’s.
Just under nine minutes into the UFC 253 headliner and Adesanya answered any questions as to who the best middleweight fighter in the world is right now. He chopped away at the previously undefeated Paulo Costa and put him away late in the second round.
It’s a very rare day in mixed martial arts when a UFC championship features two competitors that have unblemished records squaring off. But that is what happened at UFC 253 on Saturday night in the Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi.
It was the champion that proved himself the better fighter however, dominating the fight from the opening bell. It was the complete opposite of his more workmanlike dismantling of Yoel Romero.
Adesanya started chopping at Costa’s lead leg straight out of the gate. But after eating several low kicks, Costa returned fire with a hard kick to Adesanya’s ribs.
Costa then tried to go high with a kick, but Adesanya ducked it and countered with a right hand to the body. Adesanya stuck Costa with a couple quick jabs to the face. Costa egged him on, but Adesanya obliged with more jabs.
Adesanya’s speed seemed to perplex his challenger, who showed little offense outside of taunting the champion.
Adesanya stung Costa with a few more lead leg kicks, but then plastered him with a hard left kick to the body, punctuating a strong opening round.
As round two got underway, Adesanya immediately continued attacking Costa’s lead leg, which was already showing the wear and tear in the form of red welts that were turning to purple bruises as the clock ticked.
The champion landed a head kick. Costa tries to play it off and again taunted Adesanya, but he had nothing in return by way of offense. Adesanya continued to land leg kicks and jabs, picking away at his challenger, and then landed another hard left kick to the head that stunned the Brazilian.
Costa tried to plow forward, but Adesanya rocked him with blistering punch combination. He then clipped Costa with a left hand to the temple that sent him to the canvas. Adesanya followed and landed more blows until the referee stopped the fight at 3:59 of round two.
“I been telling you guys. Like Roy Jones said, I say you all must have forgot. You all must have forgot. Because of what happened last time, you thought, oh, he’s so boring,” Adesanya said, referencing the critics of his performance against Romero.
“I see you media people with your little clickbait headlines, but trust me, I had to make you all remember. I had to remind the world why, we the best!”
Having seemingly cleaned out the UFC middleweight division, Adesanya, now 20-0, already had a bullseye on his next foe.
“I told you guys, Anderson Silva lived a great legacy and I said I wanted to do service to the middleweight division. That’s a hard act to follow, but we’re doing the work. I already DM’d Jared Cannonier. He’s a hell of a dude. I love his energy. I said, you destroy Robert Whittaker, you’re next. He’s the one I want to fight next. He deserves it. If he beats Robert Whittaker handily and dominates him, he’s next!”