Israel Adesanya answered the bell and then some at UFC 230 on Saturday night, and following the rising star’s impressive win over Derek Brunson, Dana White heaped praise on “The Last Stylebender”.
Heading into UFC 230, the consensus was that Brunson would be Adesanya’s biggest test to date. The reason being that Adesanya had yet to face a top tier wrestler like Bruson in the Octagon. In addition, Brunson has heavy, heavy hands, and has defeated big names like Lyoto Machida and Uriah Hall.
Well, if you watched Adesanya – Brunson, then you know the latter repeatedly tried to take the vaunted striker down, and failed. Then, as the first round was approaching its end, Adesanya tagged Brunson with a perfectly placed knee, and went on to finish the deal with follow up punches.
It was an impressive and massive victory for Adesanya, and as a result, White had this to say about the charismatic fighter afterwards (quotes via MMA Junkie):
“Israel is a guy who has been on the rise here for a minute,” White said. “I really felt like tonight was his first big test. Obviously his opponent hits like a truck and wrestles really well. Madison Square Garden, opening the show, and man, did he deliver. Many people, including me, think this dude is the future. He went out and put a stamp on it tonight.”
“I literally cannot sit here and tell you enough good things about this kid,” White added. “I like this kid a lot. He came out tonight and put the stamp on it. He came out and looked really good tonight. If you look at how he did his other fights, he didn’t finish. He finished Derek Brunson tonight. It’s a big deal.
“The minute I saw this kid I was like, ‘Holy (expletive). This is really good. I like this.’ Then you hear him talk. I like that too. He’s the whole package.”
Yup. There’s no question that Adesanya has all the elements of what makes up a massive star. Now it will be interesting to see who Adesanya faces next, and if he can work his way into a title fight.
“The Last Stylebender” has been campaigning for a bout with the winner of Robert Whittaker – Kelvin Gastelum, which is going down February 9th. But, due to the timing of that fight, and because Adesanya wasn’t ranked in the top five prior to Saturday, one would think the UFC will tap him for another bout in the interim.