UFC 243: ‘The Last Stylebender’ proves he’s the UFC’s newest superhero

Adesanya demolishes Whittaker to claim middleweight title in Melbourne.

Israel Adesanya

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If you’ve been following the UFC for the past year, you already know that Israel Adesanya was set for superstardom. Well, that potential became reality at UFC 243 on Saturday night in Australia as the Kiwi kickboxer produced a superhero-like performance in front of Thor himself, actor Chris Hemsworth, at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne.

Interim champ Adesanya knocked out defending UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in front of a record crowd of 57,127 in Australia to capture the undisputed UFC middleweight title and become one of the sport’s biggest stars in the process.

Adesanya emerged from the tunnel and joined in a specially-rehearsed dance before walking to the cage and producing a brilliant performance as he floored Whittaker in the closing seconds of the first round, then finished him mid-way through the second to ascend to the top of the UFC’s 185-pound division.

After the fight, Adesanya confirmed his pre-fight prediction, as he told the packed Melbourne crowd: “I was in the nosebleeds. Now I made his nose bleed.

“He threw everything we expected. We had everything from his Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. We had everything up to Plan Z.”

Then he threw some shade at the man he’s likely to face next, the powerful Brazilian Paulo “The Eraser” Costa, labelling him a “Ricky Martin wannabe” and an “overly inflated balloon animal”.

The heat is already building ahead of that first title defence…

TUIVASA DOMINATED ON HOME SOIL

Aussie heavyweight Tai Tuivasa went into his heavyweight clash with Sergei Spivac looking to bounce back into the win column and re-establish himself as a serious threat to the best in the heavyweight division.

But instead the contest turned into a nightmare as he was repeatedly taken down before being choked unconscious by the unheralded Ukrainian in the second round. Tuivasa looked good in the early exchanges, but soon fell prey to Spivac’s wrestling as the Ukrainian discovered a huge hole in the Australian’s game and moved to exploit it.

And, after landing his seventh takedown of the fight, Spivac softened up Tuivasa with strikes from mount before transitioning to an arm-triangle choke and putting ‘Bam Bam’ to sleep.

DE CASTRO RISES TO THE OCCASION

The opening bout of the main card was expected to deliver a big finish and it didn’t disappoint as the man whose nickname was inspired by Avengers supervillain Thanos produced a stunning one-punch KO.

‘The Mad Titan’ Yorgan De Castro starched fellow knockout artist, and fellow debutant, Justin Tafa with a colossal right hand that caught the Kiwi as he came marauding forward looking to apply a huge right of his own.

De Castro threw just a little earlier, and just a little faster, as he connected clean, sending Tafa to unconsciousness in spectacular fashion.

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