Israel Adesanya won his fight against Yoel Romero. It was a very boring fight.
Israel Adesanya has been a professional kickboxer for a long time. He wasn’t famous before the last fight, in 2017, when he lost to Alex Pereira by a loud knockout. But now MMA is his more successful career. He has 18 wins and no losses with this record coming into the fight with Romero. In 2017, two years ago, he was only known to people who followed MMA very closely and not just UFC – but now he is a superstar.
Romero is a famous wrestler. He has won medals in different Olympics and World Championships. But he could not win the bronze medal in 2004, so he went to Germany for other things, like wrestling. Romero then started fighting for MMA (and won). The UFC bought his promotion and everything went well there.
Yoel Romero lost a fight. Then he won another fight. He fought for the title again, and it was very close. Other people were making trouble about this, but UFC bosses said that even though he lost two fights in a row, the other two fights were very close.
I want to say that in Las Vegas we saw a boxing match, but that isn’t really the case. In MMA, fighters knock their opponents out in the standup. The co-main event of UFC 248 was a title fight between two girls: Weili Zhang and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. They threw 351 punches during the fight – this is the third highest number of punches thrown at any time by any fighter in league history. The bout between Adesanya and Romero turned out to be different from what we expected.
The first round was the first five minutes and it was good. The Cuban threw four strikes, the New Zealand Nigerian threw three strikes. Romero hooked Adesanya hard with a left. That was it for now. We didn’t see anything else interesting in the first five minutes. Yoel stood his ground, Yisrael was afraid to go forward.
Round two. The pattern of the fight did not change. Adesanya did not have any sharp moments, Romero had one – when he jammed his opponent at the net for a moment and hit him hard a couple of times.
Round 3. Adesanya is more liberated, picking up the key to Romero. He’s throwing more jabs and low kicks. He didn’t shake the Cuban once but he absolutely took the round – Yoel ended up with a take-down, which doesn’t count because he couldn’t hold his opponent.
Round four. Dan Miragliotta said that there was not enough action and told the fighters to fight. The low-kicks from Israel Romero made his opponent’s front leg shake, but he would not do anything. Adesanya moved away from the line of attack by his opponent.
Romero stepped up. He hit Adesanya with his left, and asked for a takedown at the end. But it was not enough to win the fight. The champion won by unanimous decision of the judges.
So Romero’s gameplan was to stand still and wait for Adesanya to lunge at him with an open guard? A counter-puncher to Adesanya who has never done that? A ridiculous excuse. But the Cuban was applauded. Although he deserved to be whistled just as much as his opponent.