Nigerian-born UFC fighter Israel Adesanya defended his middleweight title for the second time early on Sunday morning with a second-round technical knock out victory against Paulo Costa.
The UFC 253 fight, held on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, ended in an embarrassment for Costa who before the fight boasted to take the crown from the Last Style Bender.
But it was Adesanya, a truly gifted and flamboyant fighter, who delivered on his promise of smashing the burly Brazilian, who was undefeated before the bout.
“In real life, I can feel it, he was slow,” Adesanya told ESPN after the fight. “He hit me on the ribs twice. He didn’t touch me on my face once.”
Adesanya now has 20 victories from 20 MMA fights, and nine out of nine since he joined the UFC in 2018.
He is now tied with former middleweight champion Chris Weidman for the second-longest winning streak in the middleweight division of UFC and five victories behind Anderson Silva, the all-time middleweight leader with 13 consecutive victories.
“I think he’s gonna be the new Anderson Silva of the division,” UFC president Dana White after the fight.
“He’s got his own style and his own way about him. I think he’s gonna be the next big superstar here, especially after tonight’s performance.”
If his last victory over Yoel Romero in March was considered boring, Adesanya’s show against Costa was nothing short of technical masterclass from the man Costa had called skinny in the build up to the fight.
“I told you he’s dumb. I’m smart. I understand this f—ing game,” said Adesanya, who competed in kickboxing and boxing before coming to the UFC. “This was my 100th win in combat sports all around. I’m not a f—ing baby in this game. I’ve been in this s— for a long time.”
Adesanya is looking to go up against Jared Cannonier next, should Cannonier win his upcoming bout with Robert Whittaker.