The UFC 248 main event was one of the strangest in UFC history, with Israel Adesanya retaining his title via unanimous decision after not much action.
The jewel atop the UFC 248 card was one of the most fan-friendly main events in years: Israel Adesanya vs. Yoel Romero was frankly tantalizing enough for even MMA purists to forgive Romero earning a title shot after two straight losses.
While it should not be looked at as a precedent of any sort, Romero’s position in the title fight can be forgiven thanks to injuries and just plain bad timing encountered by the other middleweight contenders in the UFC. And, yes, frankly, it looked to be a barn-burner of a fight on paper.
Adesanya’s rise through the ranks has been well-documented, while Romero’s status as one of the most imposing figures to ever stalk the 185lb weight class seems etched in stone. Thankfully, the wait for these two to finally collide was over Saturday night.
Romero came out with zero-movement, just holding his hands up for the first thirty seconds of the bout. Adesanya didn’t throw any strikes, looking as baffled as the crowd was. Adesanya looked to walk Romero down, but he wasn’t throwing any strikes in the process. Romero also wasn’t throwing anything, and the crowd began raining down boos. Adesanya finally opened up with a 1-2, followed by a head kick. Romero countered with a giant left hand that landed clean, but Adesanya looked okay and countered with a leg kick. Romero threw a jumping kick to the body that landed clean, and Adesanya landed a low kick. That was all the action in the first round.
Adesanya opened up the second round with a leg kick and Romero landed a bomb of a left hand that Adesanya ate clean. Adesanya landed a kick to the body, then an inside low kick. Romero looked for a punch to the body, and Adesanya threw another kick to the legs of Romero. Romero looked for a trip and lands a few lefts to Adesanya on the break. Adesanya threw a head kick, and started walking him down again. Adesanya landed a leg kick and then went up high with another kick. Romero attempted to walk Adesanya down to end the round and ate a left hand, ending the round.
Adesanya threw a head kick to start the third. Romero ducked and looked for a left hand of his own that missed. Romero threw a rolling thunder that Adesanya sidestepped out of. Both fighters threw leg kicks, as Romero started to move forward on Adesanya. Romero landed the left hand on Adesanya, then slipped. Adesanya landed a front kick to the body, then another one that landed heavy. Adesanya landed a front kick that split the guard of Romero, and started working his jab. Adesanya threw a head kick, and the round ends as the crowd is booing them out of the building.
Both fighters were told by the referee to be more active to start round four. Adesanya landed a heavy leg kick to start, and Romero tried to cut off the cage. Romero threw a heavy overhand left that missed badly, and Adesanya landed a leg kick. Adesanya landed another leg kick, then poked Romero in the eye as Romero was coming forward. The doctor came in to look at Romero, but said he was okay to continue. Romero came out of the time off with a massive double-leg takedown, but Adesanya quickly got up. Romero started jumping for no apparent reason, then tried to walk Adesanya down. Adesanya landed another leg kick, as Romero came forward swinging wildly. Adesanya landed another leg kick that nearly buckled Romero, but he kept coming forward. Romero looked for the takedown but couldn’t get it and tried to blitz Adesanya against the cage. We then headed to the fifth and final round.
Adesanya landed a leg kick and Romero came forward with a left hand that missed. Romero pumped the jab out there, and Adesanya landed another low kick. Adesanya landed another leg kick, and Romero threw a left hand that was blocked. Romero went for a takedown but got stuffed, and Adesanya landed a leg kick. Romero threw a left hand that backed Adesanya up. Romero landed a left hand and Adesanya countered with a leg kick. Romero landed a nice combination and Adesanya landed a head kick. Romero threw a leg kick and Adesanya countered with one of his own. Romero landed two left hands and tried to chase Adesanya down to end the round. The fight strangely ended with both of them yelling in each other’s faces, Romero seemed more confident he won.
Israel Adesanya def. Yoel Romero by Unanimous Decision (48-47 x2, 49-46)