This past weekend we witnessed the UFC fight that has a good chance of going down in history as the best interim title fight of all time. Perhaps even the best title fight period. On a night where the main event included 1 of the top 5 pound for pound fighters in the world and a mixed martial artist with over 20 fight under his belt in the UFC alone, you’d think I was talking about the Holloway and Poirier bout. But you’d be wrong. That greatest of all time title fight was actually the Middleweight fight between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum.
We are huge fans of the UFC, and when any match up is announced that includes Israel Adesanya, we are extremely excited (Especially Idris). This is because Adesanya is a tactician on the feet, the likes of Jon Jones and Conor (whether you like it or not). Adesanya always delivers a compelling match. His last fight with Anderson Silva was originally slated to be a co-main event fight but was changed to a main event after Robert Whittaker vs Kelvin Gastelum was pulled after a life threatening injury to Whittaker. Needless to say Adesanya delivered.
He managed to out strike Anderson Silva, who is regarded by many to be the best striker to ever fight in the UFC. And sure Silva was past his prime when these two fought, but Adesanya and Silva put on a great fight. Which at the end of the day is what the fans wanted to see. That fight set up this past weekend’s fight with Israel Adesanya facing off against Kelvin Gastelum. And again Adesanya delivered.
In round 1 Kelvin comes out swinging hard, throwing bombs and actually surprises Israel in round one. Nothing too serious but he planted him with a couple shots and put him on notice with how close he gets to Landing a few Haymakers. It’s at this point I realized that this isn’t going to be such an easy fight for Adesanya. Gastelum is faster and stronger than I thought.
In round 2 Israel Adesanya gets comfortable. He attempts several head kicks and sets up his combos a lot better. This is Israel that we’re used to. Really dynamic striking and great head movement.
Round 3 is a bit more of the same for Adesanya, he’s mixing up his striking well going to the legs and the abdomen a Kelvin Gastelum. But that’s mom’s not sleeping either his job is reaching Israel and you can tell that Israel is feeling them. Still, I think at this point I’d Adesanya is winning the match.
Round 4 is it where it gets really interesting! Towards the end of the round, Gastelum catches his opponent with a clean left kick. Israel right under his chin and wobbles him. Calvin has a chance to take real Advantage here but instead of moving forward with more punches he looks for the clinch?! This is probably where Kelvin lost the match, as this was his biggest opening to take his Israel out.
In round 5 is where Israel Adesanya cemented himself as a star! After some forward pressure from Kelvin, Israel to the surprise of most everyone in the bar traps Gastelum in a guillotine. Calvin slips out but is forced to the ground where Israel puts him into another submission attempt, a triangle! Didn’t know Israel had that in his bag… Kelvin escapes and they both end up on the feet. And that’s where the fight stays (for the most part). At this point is real has found his Mark and continues to rock Calvin with punch after punch. It turns out that Kelvin Gastelum is The Terminator and cannot be stopped in a match. He survives but this is a clear victory for Israel Adesanya
This fight is just one of the many great fights that we’ve seen from the UFC this year. The fights and cards keep getting better. I don’t know how long they can keep up this pace, but I hope they do. As for Israel, we’ll be looking forward to his next match to unify the championship with Robert.