‘It Just Flashed Me’- Israel Adesanya Breaks Down His Fight of the Year Performance

Published 04/20/2021, 8:36 AM EDT
ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – SEPTEMBER 27: Israel Adesanya of Nigerian is interviewed after defeating Paulo Costa of Brazil in their middleweight championship bout during UFC 253 inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island on September 27, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)


Fans have witnessed a lot of classic hardcore fights in the UFC in its short 27 years. One such fight was Israel Adesanya vs Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 for the interim UFC Middleweight championship. Both fighters gave a fight of the year performance, which is still very fresh in the minds of MMA fans. Israel Adesanya revised the fight once again on his YouTube channel: FREESTYLEBENDER.

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The ‘Last Style Bender’ broke down the battle and shared his perspective on the fight round by round. While watching the first round, Adesanya said, “Start straight away. I knew he was going to come like hard and fast. So I had to establish my distance straight away oblique kick switch stance. I just knew he was gonna like start strong and try and close the distance so well we felt that way”.

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As soon as the fight started, Kelvin Gastelum started moving forward right away. Gastelum was looking to pressure Israel Adesanya in the very first round of the fight. While doing so, ‘KG’ slipped a punch that almost had Adesanya on his hips. Israel Adesanya said, “It just flashed me- it was a flash knockdown”.

Rounds 2-3: Isreal Adesanya says, “Imma match your pace, Imma match your intensity”

The first round was competitive but slightly leaned towards ‘KG’ because of the Knockdown he scored. The second round starts as ‘The Style Bender’ commentated, “Imma match your pace, Imma match your intensity, Imma gonna match your energy,” while breaking down the fight.

Adesanya is a great counter-puncher and forces his opponents to make moves. He forced ‘KG’ to do the same while he capitalized on his mistake and knocked him down with a clean hit.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MARCH 07: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria battles Yoel Romero (not pictured) in their UFC middleweight championship fight during the UFC 248 event at T-Mobile Arena on March 07, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

Now, round 3 round started. Unlike the first two rounds where Gastelum pressured his opponent, he was slowing down.

Both warriors went back and forth, toe to toe, like an action movie sequence. ‘KG’ got a takedown in the last 80 seconds of the third round.

Rounds 4-5: The culmination

Kelvin Gastelum threw a head kick from nowhere late in the fourth round. Adesanya said, “it was the least thing he was expecting after 3 hard fought rounds.” He described the head kick as “It was just like my brain was in the ocean.”

This might have knocked some average men out, but UFC fighters are no average humans, as they train for this every day of their life.

It came down to the very last round of the fight. Adesanya said, “You can’t beat me, I am prepared to die” right before the start of the final round.

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‘The Last Style Bender’ stepped up and delivered a masterpiece for the fans. He had multiple submission attempts, including a triangle choke, which he claims was not executed perfectly. The fight was almost stopped but referee Mark Goddard gave the benefit of doubt to ‘KG’ and didn’t stop the fight.

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The fight went the distance and is a classic in UFC history. Do you think they will ever meet in a rematch?

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Saurabh Singh

89 articles

Saurabh Singh Laledia is an MMA enthusiast who works as a UFC writer for EssentiallySports. His passion for the UFC infused with his knowledge of various fight styles such as Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu motivated him to pursue a career in combat sports journalism, as it would be where he could exhibit his expert views and unbiased opinions whilst keeping the fan’s perspective alive. He started watching the sport at UFC 53 in 2005 when ‘The Ace’ Rich Franklin beat Evan Turner to claim the belt and has traced the journey of the middleweight title right from 'The Spider' to 'The Last Stylebender'.

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