Nigerian-born Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion, Israel Adesanya, retained his title with a second-round knockout of Brazilian Paulo Costa in his 20th career Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) victory.
There was less action in the first round as both MMA fighters traded few kicks and punches with Costa pressing the champion but throwing few shots.
Adesanya came out with more purpose in the second round, outboxing his opponent and landing deadly shots.
In his previous fight, Adesanya beat Yoel Romero by decision at the UFC 248 pay-per-view event from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Adesanya delivered a perfect performance on Fight Island to retain his UFC middleweight title for the second time.
‘The Last Stylebender’ was absolutely flawless in Abu Dhabi, picking apart his far bigger opponent before landing brutal ground strikes in the second round.
Costa was left bloodied and bruised on the canvas, with his undefeated record in tatters after being picked apart so ruthlessly needing medical attention after the referee waved off the fight.
The Brazilian simply could not close the distance, eating brutal lead leg kicks, desperately swinging to try and land a powerful performance.
Adesanya became the new UFC middleweight champion when he finished Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 last October by TKO. Before that, he picked up a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in the co-headliner of the UFC 236 pay-per-view event. Heading into this fight, he fought six times in less than a year-and-a-half total in the UFC and won all six bouts.
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Costa was coming off a big win over Yoel Romero at the UFC 241 pay-per-view event. He previously beat Uriah Hall on the preliminary portion of the UFC 226 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas, Nevada. He entered this fight on a 12-fight winning streak.
Round 1: Israel Adesanya is attacking the lead leg of Paulo Costa at the start of round one. The Brazilian is pointing at the target area and waving his opponent in. About a minute into the fight and Costa lands his first significant strike – a nice body kick. He goes up high it makes a nice sound but it looks like Adesanya got his hand up to block just in time. Costa goes to the body with another kick, Adesanya counters with a nice left hand. Costa is taunting a lot early. He’s already putting both hands behind his back and imitating Yoel Romero’s unorthodox stance. Adesanya continues to hammer in those low leg kicks. They are really starting to pay dividends. Costa is caught mid-taunt with a huge body kick. He pushes forward in typical fashion but Adesanya manages to clinch up and sperate without taking any damage. The round ends.
Round 2: Adesanya goes straight back to chopping at Costa’s lead leg. It’s really red right already. Costa misses wildly with a kick up top. He lands back to back low leg kicks straight after. Costa pops him with a jab. Adesanya goes upstairs with the kick which appears to partially land. Adesanya lands a big body kick. Costa tries to return but his kick is caught. ‘Stylebender’ lands a clean head kick – Costa just eats it! The champ is stomping on his opponent’s lead leg now as well as rattling off low kicks. Adesanya dips out the way of an attack, lands a beautiful counter left before swarming for the finish.
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