Nigeria’s Adesanya shines in the UFC

At UFC 263 on Saturday night, Israel Adesanya demolished Vettori, winning a unanimous decision to remain undefeated in the middleweight category. 

In the rematch, the deft UFC middleweight star left no doubt, pummeling Vettori with a barrage of kicks to the head and knees to retain his title. 

Most of the night, Adesanya (21-1) stayed out of reach of Vettori’s strong punches and used his feet expertly to keep the Italian fighter off balance. 

In the third full-capacity UFC event, the Nigerian-born New Zealander won 50-45 on all three judges’ scorecards.

“I’m slowly starting to accept it as a great performance, but right now, I just wanted to punch him in the face more, but credit to him and his boxing coach, I’ll say they improved their boxing a bit, so I think they thought that would be enough but it wasn’t enough, it wasn’t enough,” Adesanya said in a post-fight press conference.

Israel Adesanya is only one of many African nations who have had success in the Octagon, with Cameroon’s Francis Ngannou in the Heavyweight division. Fellow Nigerian Welterweight champion Kamaru Usman also punches well above his weight.

“Adesanya is unbelievable and he seems to be getting better,” UFC President Dana White said.

“We’re on top right now, three kings, and it’s just a powerful thing man, so powerful so, I just keep riding that wave man. I want them to feel this, surge I just created, I want them to ride it to the week, when they attack the week next week, anyone in Nigeria who just feels maybe down and out about some shit, attack the week the way I attacked this guy,” Adesanya added.

Israel Adesanya has been undefeated as a Middleweight since 2019, losing only one in 22 matches to Jan Bachowicz of Poland.

Educator, writer and legal researcher at Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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