Former kickboxing champion, Israel Adesanya, looked to keep his perfect professional mixed martial arts (MMA) record intact tonight (Nov. 3, 2018), kicking off UFC 230’s pay-per-view (PPV) main card inside Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., against 13-fight Octagon veteran, Derek Brunson.
In addition to the huge edge in UFC experience, Brunson was also far and away the most skilled wrestler Adesanya had faced to date, but it did not matter — “The Last Stylebender” did what he does best, scoring an impressive first round technical knockout victory.
Brunson wasted no time closing the distance and securing a body lock, ensuring that he was out of range of Adesanya’s dynamic striking arsenal. While pressed up against the cage, Brunson grabbed Adesanya’s shorts to keep him pinned against the fence, which referee Herb Dean noticed and quickly issued a warning. During that warning, Adesanya flipped Brunson the bird and dared him to stand and trade. Brunson didn’t take the bait, though, shooting in for another takedown attempt once the action was restarted. Adesanya struggled to keep Brunson off of him for the first four minutes, but then once he got some space, “The Last Stylebender” finally flashed his brilliance. Adesanya sprawled and in the scramble landed a short, hard knee that stunned Brunson, which he followed up with a combination that dropped him to the canvas. Brunson got back to his feet and returned fire, but Adesanya dropped him with a straight right hand, and then as Brunson was getting back to his feet, Adesanya popped him with a straight left that sent him back down to the canvas once again. And that was all that the referee need to see to call a stop to the bout. It was a patient, calculated performance from Adesanya, who showed off his pinpoint — and devastating — kickboxing skills.
Perhaps more notable was his ability to sprawl and keep the fight standing — Adesanya has clearly been working overtime on his wrestling and takedown defense. And it was on full display tonight, as Adesanya weathered the early blitz and waited for his opportunity to shine. In the process, he straight up took the shine off the No. 6-ranked Brunson and could very well find himself matched up against a Top 5 contender moving forward.
He’s certainly earned it.
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