The main event of UFC 253 had Israel Adesanya set to answer a number of questions. Coming off a less-than-thrilling win over Yoel Romero in which the champ was heavily criticized, it was time to prove once again that he was one of the best entertainers in the business.
This time out, the challenge was fellow undefeated fighter Paulo Costa. A fighter whose underwhelming showing on TUF Brazil 3 had been completely eclipsed by dominant performances in the UFC proper.
In the end, Adesanya showed exactly what he needed to show on Saturday night.
The fight started off with Adesanya landing variety of low leg kicks. Costa never fully got comfortable throwing any kind of power. “The Last Stylebender” clearly won the first round and was looking extremely fresh going into the second round. Whereas Costa was going into the second round looking frustrated. Costa was definitely going into the second round wearing the damage of Adesanya’s leg kicks. The Brazilian had played some mind games, mimicking the champ’s style. But he was eating leg kicks far too often.
In the second, Adesanya kept the pressure on to begin the round. He kept using his low kicks and they eventually started to do a good bit of damage on Costa’s lead leg. Costa’s hands got a little low and Adesanya landed a head kick that seemed to do little damage to Costa. This was the beginning of the end for Costa though. By the end of the second round, Costa got rocked and eventually dropped. Adesanya followed up with some vicious ground and pound. Which is what led the ref to stop the fight.
👑 @Stylebender is the undefeated king of the middleweights.
— UFC (@ufc) September 27, 2020
Post-fight, Adesanya said that if Jared Cannonier beats Robert Whittaker in his next fight, then “he is next.” Also mentioning that he is chasing after a “Anderson Silva” type legacy in the UFC’s middleweight division. “The Last Sylebender” had his fair share of fun in his post-fight interview and made sure to give a shout out to his team, City Kickboxing. Including coach Eugene Bareman and teammates Kai Kara-France, Brad Riddell, and Shane Young.
Official Result: Isreal Adesanya def. Paulo Costa by TKO (punches), Round 2, 3:59