IT’S TIME! The main event between middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and feared Cuban wrestler Yoel Romero is finally upon us.
‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya makes his first title defence after knocking out Robert Whittaker to capture the title at UFC 243. Prior to that he beat Kelvin Gastelum over five rounds to capture the interim belt in a fight of the decade contender.
Romero enters the octagon at 42-years-old looking to take advantage of his second shot at the UFC middleweight title. Will he become the 185lb champion tonight? We’re just moments away from finding out…
Round 1: Israel Adesanya comes out trying to stay long. Yoel Romero stays in his shell and weirdly just stand there before doing some silky foot work. Literally nothing has happened through two minutes – this is certainly a change of pace from what we saw in the co-main event. Finally mid-way through the first round Romero land a low kick before they both move out of fighting range. Adesanya steps in and Romero throws a wild shot over the top to buzz the champion. He shakes it off and get backs to his feinting, before landing a low kick. Yoel explodes with a jumping round kick to the body. More posturing until the horn sounds to end the round to a chorus of boos from those in attendance.
Round 2: More feinting to begin the round before Adesanya attempts a body kick and eats a big overhand for his efforts. The champion throws a high-kick but doesn’t really land. A flurry from Izzy followed by a lowkick – he seems to finally be warming into this fight. Just as I say that the fight seems to die again and both fighters posture some more. Romero steam in landing a big right hand and begins unloading against the fence, Adesanya eats a few they eventually circles away. Adesanya throws a low kick but its caught by Romero who whips a big punch just past his opponents head. Another lull in action and the fans aren’t happy. Big explosions from both men to end the round not much landed.
Round 3: After 30 seconds Adesanya throws a powerful head kick which Romero ducks under before trying to counter. The fighters break but Romero tries to roll for a leg lock which Izzy easily moves away from. Romero throws a leg kick, Adesanya checks it and points at his challenger. Romero lands a left and then slips over rushing in. Front kick to the body from the champ probably his best strike of the fight. Quickly followed by a nice kick to the body. Adesanya throws the jab and Romero pulls tongues at the champion. Unfazed the New Zealander throws a nice head kick. The third round ends and was much better for the 185lb king.
Round 4: Referee Dan Miragliotta brings both men to the centre before round four and tells them to give the judges something to score. I’ve never seen that before…
It seems to have got the attention of Adesanya who is moving forward throwing big shots but not landing a lot. It doesn’t last long though and hes on the back foot and Romero is stalking. An eye poke from Adesanya on Romero bring a temporary break to the action. The doctor is coming in to take a loom at Romero’s right eye. The Cuban smiles gives and gives the doc the nod to say I can continued. Straight from the off Romero flies in for a takedown, secures it but the champion immediately pops back up. Yoel has an extra bounce in his step now and appears to be fighting with more urgency although nothing is quite coming off in this round. Romero dives in for another takedown, Adesanya sprawls before eating two shots on the way up. Romero ducks out the way of a high-kick and round four comes to a close.
Round 5: Romero catches a kick and lands the over hand to start the round. Adesanya continues to attack the lead leg of his opponent – it’s starting to look pretty bad. Yoel continues to press forward and is landing the odd strikes. Romero comes in for the takedown but is shook off easy and eats another leg kick for his troubles. Another left from Romero. He backs up Adesanya who loses his balance. Once back to his feet he again eats another punch. High kick from Adesanya which is blocked by Romero. Final 10 seconds and Yoel is swinging big. The bell sounds and he gets is Adesanya’s face and is screaming. Super weird fight which could go either way.
OFFICIAL RESULT: Israel Adesanya def. Yoel Romero via unanimous decision