Israel Adesanya's nickname, "The Last Stylebender," can give you a great glimpse into both his fighting style and personality. The eccentric former Glory and King of the Ring kickboxing champion began fighting in MMA while continuing his kickboxing career until 2017. He has seen a wildly successful start to his MMA career that consists of 12 consecutive knockouts. Now, as a full-time member of the UFC, Adesanya is on a mission to win the middleweight belt. He will take the next step toward that goal this Saturday when he takes on fellow prospect, Marvin Vettori, this Saturday night in Glendale, Arizona.
Knockouts with style
Israel Adesanya is 12-0 as a professional mixed martial artist. All 12 of those fights ended by knockout. Adesanya finished all 12 opponents within two rounds by punches, elbows, or head or body kick. As a kickboxer, 24 of 26 of his wins came by knockout as well. The New Zealand resident, Adesanya has excellent boxing and a devastating repertoire of kicks. He also has excellent takedown defense, forcing his opponents to stand and trade with him. No one has figured out the puzzle that is "The Last Stylebender" so far.
The UFC threw Adesanya straight to the dogs upon entering the UFC. He faced off against top prospect, Rob Wilkinson in Perth, Australia in February 2018. Adesanya handled the wrestling of Wilkinson incredibly. Wilkinson managed to secure a few takedowns but Adesanya found his way to his feet each time and punished Wilkinson with shots on the way up. Eventually, he cornered an exhausted Wilkinson against the cage and finished him off with a flurry of punches in the second round to secure the win in his UFC debut. The finish also secured him his first Performance of the Night bonus.
Marvin Vettori looks to derail the Adesanya hype train
After about two months off, Israel Adesanya will be back in the octagon in Glendale, Arizona. He will face Italy's Marvin Vettori (12-3-1). Vettori is an excellent grappler and holds seven wins by submission in his MMA career. He outranks Adesanya on the ground but we have seen the Kiwi avoid takedowns in creative ways that lead to counterpunches. Vettori will also not be easy to knock out. He has never been finished but if anyone can land a fight-ending shot, it is Adesanya. Adesanya only has a three inch height advantage on Vettori which is not too significant, but his long legs will be able to land from the outside. This will allow Adesanya to let loose with his kicks without too much fear of being taken down.
On Saturday night, Israel "The Last Stylebender" will be back in the cage looking for his thirteenth consecutive knockout. Anything less is considered a failure in his eyes. His desire to finish each opponent he faces as fast as possible is a reason that this fight could steal the show. He has a formidable and determined young opponent in Marvin Vettori that could easily make this a war and give us a fight to remember.
Do you think Israel Adesanya will live up to the hype? Leave a comment below.