Infotainment Factory: Kiwi UFC star sets up likely Trans-Tasman superbout

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Saturday, 13 April 2019

Kiwi UFC star sets up likely Trans-Tasman superbout


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New Zealand UFC star Israel Adesanya has likely set up a trans-Tasman superbout with Australian Robert Whittaker after claiming the interim middleweight belt over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236.

Gastelum controversially claimed the interim title when long-standing division champion Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw from their championship fight in February this year.

For Adesanya, the promise of a Kiwi-Aussie superbout with Whittaker has always been the goal, so Sunday's bout with Gastelum was the final obstacle standing in the way of his ambitions - and he took to the challenge with gusto.

Already being touted as an instant classic, Adesanya and Gastelum traded back and forth in a devastating display at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Adesanya has Whittaker firmly in his sights

Adesnaya was bizarrely out-striked by the Mexican in the opening rounds until a savage counter-right sent the Mexican to the canvas and set the tone for the remaining rounds.

When the dust settled, Adesanya emerged victorious, spurred a by comprehensive 10-8 final round which saw the Nigerian-born claim the middleweight interim belt via unanimous decision.

 “I was willing to die. We’ve lost teammates to this game,” Adesanya said post-fight.

“They’re not with us anymore. ... But I knew I was willing to give it all and to leave it all in there. And I said let’s go, but like I said he’s a Mexican warrior, but hey, I’ve got that mexicano in me too.”

Israel Adesanya

The win sees Adesanya move to a 17-0 professional MMA record (6-0 in the UFC).

Faced with the prospect of the Whittaker fight, Adesanya only had a few words.

“I’m the champion,” Adesanya said. “Let’s go.”

New Zealand UFC star Israel Adesanya has likely set up a trans-Tasman superbout with Australian Robert Whittaker after claiming the interim middleweight belt over Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236.

Gastelum controversially claimed the interim title when long-standing division champion Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw from their championship fight in February this year.

For Adesanya, the promise of a Kiwi-Aussie superbout with Whittaker has always been the goal, so Sunday's bout with Gastelum was the final obstacle standing in the way of his ambitions - and he took to the challenge with gusto.

Already being touted as an instant classic, Adesanya and Gastelum traded back and forth in a devastating display at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Adesanya has Whittaker firmly in his sights

Adesnaya was bizarrely out-striked by the Mexican in the opening rounds until a savage counter-right sent the Mexican to the canvas and set the tone for the remaining rounds.

When the dust settled, Adesanya emerged victorious, spurred a by comprehensive 10-8 final round which saw the Nigerian-born claim the middleweight interim belt via unanimous decision.

 “I was willing to die. We’ve lost teammates to this game,” Adesanya said post-fight.

“They’re not with us anymore. ... But I knew I was willing to give it all and to leave it all in there. And I said let’s go, but like I said he’s a Mexican warrior, but hey, I’ve got that mexicano in me too.”

Israel Adesanya

The win sees Adesanya move to a 17-0 professional MMA record (6-0 in the UFC).

Faced with the prospect of the Whittaker fight, Adesanya only had a few words.

“I’m the champion,” Adesanya said. “Let’s go.”

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