After fighting off a barrage of takedown attempts, Israel Adesanya pummeled Rob Wilkinson into a bloody pulp at UFC 221 on Saturday.
UFC 221 went down live, Saturday February 10 (Sunday local time) at the Perth Arena in Perth, Australia. While the main event featured a middleweight showdown between Yoel Romero and Luke Rockhold, earlier in the evening, Rob Wilkinson faced Israel Adesanya in another 185lb clash.
For Asesanya, it was his UFC debut, though the Nigerian-born Kiwi had a decorated background in kickboxing, and was undefeated at 11-0 in MMA heading into the night. Rob Wilkinson, meanwhile, was hoping to bounce back from his first ever career loss, to Siyar Bahadurzada last September.
Once the bout was underway, Adesanya fluidy switched stances, but soon found himself fighting off a Wilkinson takedown attempt. He managed to do just that, but exposed his neck momentarily. The clinch work, however, played to Wilkinson’s strengths. A trip soon saw Wilkinson take the kickboxer down, but Adesanya was able to get right back up. Wilkinson stayed on the single leg; he was determined to keep Adesanya from creating space. Adesanya, however, was able to escape, and fired a kick off high, followed by a leg kick. A charge across the cage followed that ended in a tumble, and it was right back to Wilkinson, now bloodied, clinching. He then scored a brief takedown.
Round two saw Adesanya break through with a lead left, then go to the body. He evaded a takedown attempt, then went high with a kick and landed a knee shortly after. After fighting off another takedown, Adesanya fired an uppercut and a knee, then chopped at Wilkinson’s legs. Wilkinson tried a high kick of his own, but was getting pummeled on the feet. Wilkinson was covering up, moving side to side but all fight was out of him, as he was not answering back at all. Adesanya landed at will, mixing in knees, body shots, and simply wore his opponent down. Wilkinson, nose likely broken, finally slumped to the ground as the ref waved the affair off, rescuing him from further damage.
Showing some serious mic skills, Adesanya addressed the 185lb weight class after the fight, saying “Middleweights: I’m the new dog in the yard, and I just pissed all over this cage.”
Israel Adesanya def. Rob Wilkinson by TKO, Round 2, 3:37