Last night we saw not only the continued rise of the hugely popular Israel Adesanya, but the emergence of a potential title challenger in 2019. Continue reading “What’s next for Israel Adesanya?”
For Israel Adesanya (14-0-0), his scheduled fight against Derek Brunson (18-6-0) at UFC 230 is nothing more than a straightforward way to add a fifteenth victory to his perfect professional MMA record.
Speaking to Luke Thomas on this weeks episode of the MMA Hour, Adesanya didn’t shy away from calling it as he sees it and in his eyes, Brunson is “in over his head on this one”.
Friday July 6, 2018,Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada – With the UFC dropping their first card if International Fight Week with The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 27 Finale, MMAMotion will be providing live results via Twitter.
Headlining the card will will be the middleweight showdown between heavy hitter Brad Tavares and striking sensation Israel Adesanya, who occupy the five-round main event. Equally important, we get to find out who is the “Ultimate Fighter” in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions, thanks to finale fights pitting Joe Giannetti vs. Mike Trizano (155) and Brad Katona vs. Jay Cucciniello (145).
We will be updating the results as they happen below.
The UFC is never short of title challengers, with Dana White constantly scouting the globe for fresh talent on Dana White’s Looking For A Fight, Tuesday Night Contender Series and The Ultimate Fighter, we are lucky enough to know the future of MMA is in safe hands. In this list, we’re going to look at the top five potential UFC champions.
5. Tai Tuivasa
Tai “Bam Bam” Tuivasa has surprised many since making his UFC debut last year. The 25-year-old has an undefeated professional record of 7-0 with all seven of his wins coming by way of knockout in the first round. “Bam Bam” is expected to face his toughest opponent yet when he faces former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC 225 in June. The Australian will be hoping to keep up his destructive record by punching a hole through the former champion and climb the rankings on his journey to the top of the heavyweight division.
4. Israel Adesanya
28-year-old Israel “Stylebender” Adesanya has also impressed in his recent fights inside MMA’s greatest proving ground. With a great reputation in kickboxing, it must have been a surprise to many when the “Stylebender” chose to switch his focus to mixed martial arts. This decision has treated Adesanya well though. He has earned an undefeated record of 13-0. The Nigerian made his UFC debut in February of this year when he stamped his authority in the middleweight division with a very impressive TKO victory over Rob Wilkinson. Adesanya then fought Marvin Vettori just two weeks ago at UFC On Fox Glendale. He has wasted no time in getting back inside octagon again as he is scheduled to be the main event for The Ultimate Fighter Finale in July where he’ll occupy his first main event.
3. Darren Till
Englands own, Darren Till, has continued to defy expectations on his road to the top of the welterweight division. Till has excited many and his coaches believe he is the best in the business. “The Gorilla” is a master in Muay thai and has all the weapons in his arsenal to make life very difficult for anyone who dares to stand toe to toe with him inside the octagon. He also holds an undefeated record of 16 wins and one draw, and in Till‘s latest fight, he completely pasted UFC fan favourite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the first round. Till faces his toughest test to date though at UFC Liverpool at the end of May in Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson. If Till gets the victory he desires, he could well be in line to get a shot at champion Tyrone Woodley‘s strap.
2. Zabit Magomedsharipov
Another tough Russian out of Dagestan, Zabit Magomedsharipov has a professional record of 15-1. He is a very exciting fighter to watch, throwing fancy strikes from all different angles, and is never in one spot for more than a fraction of a second. Pairing this up with his Russian grade wrestling, it makes Zabit one of the toughest featherweights on the planet. It’s going to be very exciting watching him climb the rankings from the #14 ranked position he occupies at this current time. Zabit proved once again how much of great fighter he is when he fought Kyle Bochniak at UFC 223. He outclassed the brawler in every aspect of MMA and is looking forward to fighting higher ranked opponents in the future.
1. Paulo Costa
27-year-old Paulo Costa as the real deal at middleweight. He is the size of a light heavyweight with insane punching power, incredible wrestling, and a shifty ground game. Costa has finished every pro fight he has ever been in and holds an impressive 11-0 record – 10 knockouts and one submission. Since making his UFC debut back in March of 2017, Costa has put away Garreth McLennan, Oluwale Bamgbose and former welterweight champion Johnny Hendricks, and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Costa is scheduled to fight Uriah Hall at UFC 226 in July, and I’m sure he will emerge victoriously and be the new middleweight champion by 2020!
Undefeated Israel Adesanya (13-0-0) has been handed a huge test in just his third UFC outing.
The UFC has confirmed that the boisterous and charismatic 28-year-old is set to face number 10 ranked middleweight Brad Tavares (17-4-0) in the main event of the TUF 27 finale on July 6th in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Adesanya’s last UFC appearance was a somewhat unexpected split decision victory over Marvin Vettori on April 14th. The fight was closer than many expected considering the dominant nature of Adesanya’s debut UFC performance, a flashy TKO victory over Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221. Adesanya certainly doesn’t lack confidence but will likely want to prove he belongs in elite company following his first ever decision victory against Vettori.
Facing former TUF 11 contestant Tavares will be a significant step up for “The Stylebender”. The 30-year-old Hawaiian will bring a four fight UFC win streak along with his top 10 ranking to the table when the pair meet in July. Having previously shared the octagon with middleweight champion Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Nate Marquardt, Tavares has had no shortage of top quality opponents during his 16 fight UFC career.
The TUF 27 finale card will also feature a women’s flyweight bout between TUF 26 alumni Barb Honchak (10-3-0) and Roxanne Moadafferi (21-14-0).
UFC on Fox 29 is in the books and it certainly did not disappoint. With a main event which delivered exactly the kind of war fans expected and some fantastic scraps throughout the card, UFC fans in Glendale were treated to an entertaining night of action.
Let’s take a look at what could be next for Dustin Poirier and the other main card winners in Glendale, Arizona.
Dustin Poirier (23-5-0, 1 n/c)
In a main event which truly lived up to expectations, Dustin Poirier ultimately won the stand up battle against Justin Gathje on his way to earning a fourth round stoppage victory. Poirier is now undefeated in his last 4 outings, with wins over Jim Miller and Anthony Pettis either side of a controversial no contest against Eddie Alvarez at UFC 211. With just one loss in his last nine fights, The Diamond is firmly entrenched in the top five of the lightweight division and can only be one fight away from getting his shot at the gold.
Considering the uncertainty at the top of the UFC lightweight division, it came as no surprise that Poirier took the opportunity to call out current champion Khabib Nurmagomedov in his octagon interview. With Tony Ferguson sidelined following knee surgery and Conor McGregor facing an uncertain future, the only other realistic challenger for the belt is Eddie Alvarez (29-5-0, 1 n/c). Poirier and Alvarez have unfinished business following UFC 211 and a second fight between the two warriors would make perfect sense. The winner would be all but guaranteed to move on to face Khabib for the title later this year.
Alex Oliveira (18-5-1, 2 n/c)
Alex Oliveira stepped in as a late replacement after Matt Brown pulled out of his planned match up with Carlos Condit in Glendale and he certainly made the most of the opportunity. With a little over three minutes gone in the second round, Oliveira secured a guillotine choke which ended the fight and delivered Cowboy the biggest win of his career to date.
With a win over number 12 ranked UFC legend Condit under his belt, Oliveira will likely be eyeing another ranked opponent when he returns to the octagon later this year. The welterweight division has been a busy one over the past few weeks, with almost all of the top 15 being booked to fight in the coming months. One fighter who remains unattached is Dong Hyun Kim (22-4-1, 1 n/c). Kim is a 10 year UFC veteran who is currently ranked at number 15 and hasn’t fought since dropping a decision loss to Colby Covington in July 2017. In an ideal world, Oliveira would be looking at fighting someone a little higher up the rankings but as a fighter who likes to stay busy, I expect he would be happy to take a fight with Kim rather than wait around for someone else to become available.
Israel Adesanya (13-0-0)
He may not have been happy with his performance but Israel Adesanya got the job done against Marvin Vettori. The charismatic 28-year-old extends his record to 13 fights without defeat and had this been a more emphatic performance would be almost certain to move on to face a ranked opponent in his next appearance. Prior to facing Vettori, Adesanya had won all 12 of his professional fights by KO/TKO and there was certainly a sense of disappointment in his post fight interview. The reality is, while the performance may have been less flashy than we have been accustomed too, there will be valuable lessons learned by Adesanya in his first fight to ever go the distance. In the long run, this will serve him well.
There are two paths available for the UFC when looking at what could be next for Adesanya. They could look to further build his stock by matching him against someone they feel he will be able to showcase his full array of skills against. Former champion Johny Hendricks is a fading former star who the UFC seem to have no problem with matching up against streaking young stars. They could alternatively choose to match Adesanya with someone who will provide him a sterner test. The UFC are rarely slow to build up exciting fighters and I expect they will take the latter approach. A match up with UFC veteran C.B. Dollaway (17-8-0) would certainly provide Adesanya with an opportunity to prove he is the real deal. Should be emerge victorious, there would be little to stand in the way of him moving on to face a ranked opponent in his next fight.
Michelle Waterson (15-6-0)
Michelle Waterson ground out a split decision win with a gritty display against Cortney Casey. Waterson, a natural atomweight, was visibly smaller than her opponent at 115lbs and while she had enough to emerge with the victory on this occasion, it is hard not to think of what she could achieve if the UFC provided her with the opportunity to fight at her natural weight.
The Karate Hottie has an impressive record against the majority of the division but has twice fallen short when stepping up a level against both Tecia Torres and reigning champion Rose Namajunas. None the less, Waterson is back in the mix at the top end of the division and is likely to take another step up in opponent in her next fight. Carla Esparza (13-4-0) and Claudia Gadelha (15-3-0) are set to meet at UFC 225 in what is likely to be a title eliminator. With the winner likely to face Namajunas for the strawweight belt, who ever loses that fight would make an ideal next opponent for Waterson. A win against either Esparza or Gadelha would prove that the 32-year-old is ready for the next level of competition and put her on track for a shot at the strawweight gold.