Israel Adesanya became the undisputed middleweight champion of the world on Saturday night as he dismantled Robert Whittaker at UFC 243 in Melbourne.
“The Last Stylebender” was his confident, assured self in front of 57,000 fans at Marvel Stadium as he TKO’d Whittaker in the second round to move to 18-0 in his professional career.
Whittaker hadn’t fought since June 2018, when he defeated Yoel Romero for the second time, and struggled to cope with what Adesanya had to offer.
After making one of the most memorable entrances in the sport’s history, Adedanya found himself trading shots with his opponent in the opening round, but as the defending champion looked for a haymaker, he was left open for a counter.
Adesanya displayed beautifully crisp head movement throughout, to duck and weave his way past Whittaker’s offence, before unloading a huge right hand just as the horn sounded for the end of the first round which dropped “Bobby Knuckles.”
Whittaker didn’t appear to let the knockdown affect him as he came out on the attack in the second, but Adesanya grew in confidence and eventually found the finish mid-way through the round thanks to a beautiful right, then left, which sent the hometown favourite crashing to the canvas.
After the bout and the celebrations, Adesanya singled out fellow unbeaten contender Paulo Costa who was in the crowd in Melbourne.
“You know who’s next.,” Adesanya said of the Brazilian. “I’ve got this overly inflated balloon animal. He better not step into this cage tonight. It’s my Octagon.”
It’s been an incredible rise for the Nigerian born New Zealander who only made his UFC in February of 2018, but now stands atop the 185 pound division.