Nigerian-born New Zealand mixed martial arts star Israel Adesanya on Saturday defeated American fighter Brad Tavares in their Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight fight in Las Vegas.
Adesanya, 28, won the 185-pound contest at the end of Round 5 after the three judges confirmed his victory in his first headline fight in the UFC.
The fight headlined The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated Finale and the judges ruled it in the favour of the Lagos-born fighter (50-45, 50-45 and 49-46).
It was Israel Adesanya’s first contest against a fighter ranked higher than him in UFC and the victory over Tavares (17-5) took his record to 14-0 in MMA and 3-0 in UFC.
Speaking after his win, Israel Adesanya was delighted he proved doubters wrong after earlier suggestions that the fight will come too soon for him.
In his words, he said: “All the pundits and experts said, ‘Is it too soon? He’s only had two fights in the UFC.'”
“Tavares is a tough dude. He’s got Ray Sefo, a New Zealand legend, in his corner. I’m only getting warmed up, I have yet to start. I hurt him twice and he adjusted very well at the beginning. But I was able to adjust as well. It was a good chess match.
“I’m happy with the performance. Five rounds and my gas tank was on point. I got the reserve tank still ready to go another three rounds.” He added.
Israel Adesanya then revealed that he needs some rest as he awaits the winner of the UFC226 fight between Uriah Hall and Paulo Costa.
He said: “I need some rest but I am waiting for whoever wins – especially Uriah Hall. He’s just cloud chasing, he keeps talking so we’ll see. But even if the Brazilian wins, I’ve been chewing erasers since I was a kid so it’s nothing new to me.”
Photo Credit: Erik Verduzco