If you’re not familiar with Derek Brunson and Israel Adesanya’s rivalry, let me catch you up in time for Saturday…
Former kickboxer Israel Adesanya came into the UFC on an 11-fight win streak. He extended his undefeated record to 14-0 with wins over Rob Wilkinson, Marvin Vettori and most recently Brad Tavares. After that win in July, Adesanya called out Paulo Costa and Anderson Silva. Those fights never came to be, but middleweight contender Derek Brunson called for ‘The Last Stylebender’, wanting to fight at Madison Square Garden on the November card and accompanying it with this video.
Adesanya then responded with a video of his own.
These were just the starting points of the trash talk that would ensue. Things got pretty heated at the UFC’s 25th anniversary press conference when the two faced off. Adesanya claims he’s in Brunson’s head, and that those emotions will get the best of him come Saturday.
Derek Brunson went on a 5-fight win streak from 2014-2016 beating the likes of Lorenz Larkin, Ed Herman, Sam Alvey, Roan Carneiro and Uriah Hall. In November of 2016, Brunson headlined UFC Fight Night 101 against current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Brunson pressured early in the fight, running after and lunging at Whittaker looking for that knockout, but it cost him. Whittaker landed a head kick and then finished Brunson with punches. After that fight Brunson got back to his winning ways with 1st-round finishes of Dan Kelly and Lyoto Machida before falling again to Ronaldo ‘Jacaré’ Souza in the same manner he lost to Whittaker. That fight was almost a year ago, but Brunson is eager to get back in the cage and shut Adesanya up.
UFC 230: Cormier Vs. Lewis goes down Saturday night, with Brunson Vs. Adesanya kicking off the main card on Pay-Per-View starting at 10:00PM ET/7:00 PM PT.