Israel Adesanya
Mandatory Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Israel Adesanya is expected to make the first defense of his UFC middleweight championship against Yoel Romero this year.

Adesanya took the title from Robert Whittaker this past October in Australia. Now, he has called out Romero, one of the most feared competitors at 185 pounds. According to Betting Insider Journal, “The Last Stylebender” is listed as a -174 favorite, with Romero as a +142 underdog. Early rumors suggest their bout will go down at UFC 248 on March 7.

The show goes down live on pay-per-view (PPV) from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. While the UFC has not yet made the fight official, in a recent interview, Adesanya suggested the fight is a done deal.

“The fight’s done. … Make no mistake — I’m still putting work in,” Adesanya said. “I’m still getting ready for my second title defense against a veteran of the game. A veteran in wrestling, a tough motherf*cker, the boogeyman of the division. The guy nobody calls out — except for ‘Stylebender.’”

When asked if the bout would, in fact, take place at UFC 248, Adesanya confirmed it would.

“Yep, that’s the one,” Adesanya said. “That’s me.”

What do you think about a potential matchup between Adesanya and Romero? Who are you picking?

Has been covering mixed martial arts (MMA) for the past several years. Also covers professional wrestling for WrestleZone and EWrestlingNews, and the Houston Texans for USA Today's Texans Wire.