The world knew that the match between Israel Adesanya and Paolo Costa was going to be an incredible bout on UFC253. All the build up and trash talk can sometimes deliver cagey fights that go the distance, something Adesanya himself has been guilty of in the past as in UFC248. Not least when the Nigerian-born Kiwi champ took on Yoel Romero in the rearrangement of this fight. This was not one of those nights, though, as Israel Adesanya became the undisputed middleweight champion he promised to be.
Adesanya entered last Saturday’s fight to defend his title with a 19-0 record. To any opponent, this was a hot streak that few people dare to cross. Enter Paulo Costa, who himself boasted a remarkable 13-0. But that was before the fight. When it was time to put the unbeaten records to the test, Adesanya smashed Costa with an incredible TKO in the second round!
Adesanya’s antics don’t match his fighting style
This was not any regular TKO. Adesanya achieved it with his usual style and grace. He doesn’t call himself The Last Stylebender for nothing. Early in the fight, he began picking on the Brazilian with kick after kick to the lead leg, the torso and the head. From the very start, it went downhill for Costa who seemed slower as a result of the beating. As the Fight Night commentator put it, “That leg is trash.” Costa bled all over as a result of Adesanya’s powerful kicks. Finally, almost as a merciful act, Adesanya finished him off in the second round. It was a masterclass. It was everything we expected and more, especially so given his opponent.
Maybe this fast TKO was already in Adesanya’s head, especially after the lead-up to this fight. It’s rare that contestants have anything nice to say to each other before the fight, but the Costa camp’s image of Adesanya’s head on Grace Jones’s body and The Eraser’s constant allusion to Adesanya’s sexuality only seemed to fire him up even more. After knocking Costa to the floor with a series of powerful kicks and punches, The Last Stylebender squatted over his opponent, dry humping him to prove his domination. The act has been slammed by fans and commentators as disrespectful, but Adesanya won’t care. There can be no doubting his dominance at the top of this sport.
Costa didn’t bring his A-Game, but could he have?
We knew that this card was going to be violent and bloody. However, as good as Adensanya’s performance was, Costa’s fans will feel disappointment with The Eraser’s performance. He promised to be a worthy challenger for the title but, in the end, he didn’t stand a chance against Adesanya’s reach and tactical awareness. Without a shadow of a doubt, it was one of the easiest title defenses we have seen in UFC history.
Adesanya looks unbeatable. He is fast and strong. He has a solid defense, excellent strategy and amazing reach. Costa was unable to unleash his famous forward-moving fury which helped him achieve his unbeaten record. Maybe he entered the fight with a plan, but it was completely shattered by the might of Adesanya. No matter how strong and resilient you are, you are bound to lose if you absorb kick after kick like those the Kiwi was dishing out. The bruising on the Brazilian’s leading leg was clear mid way through the second round. Adesanya was simply too fast and precise with his counter-punches and kicks. Even though Costa tried to taunt the champion by sticking out his tongue and dropping his guard, Adesanya was completely focused. In the end, he proved he was just too smart for the Brazilian.
Adesanya fought a perfect match. No injuries, few blows received, and a highly-anticipated TKO. We can only hope that future challengers for the title offer a little more resistance to Adesanya, for their own good. For sceptics of Adesanya’s power and domination at the top of this sport, there can surely be no more doubt. Is there anyone out there who can challenge him?