Israel Adesanya has established himself as the best fighter in the UFC middleweight division. He will enter UFC 281 looking for his sixth title defense.
Three and a half years ago at UFC 236, it was a different story as Adesanya faced Kelvin Gastelum looking to capture the interim title. In a close fight after four rounds, Adesanya gave himself some shocking advice entering the fifth round.
Following a slow first round which all three judges gave to Kelvin Gastelum, Israel Adesanya began to turn it on. He dominated the second round, outstriking Gastelum and landing a knockdown.
Gastelum landed a takedown in a much closer third round, but his inability to do much with it allowed Adesanya to take the round. In the fourth round, Gastelum had, by far, his best round of the night. This would reflect on the scorecards, as all three judges had it at 38-38 following four rounds.
Entering the decisive fifth round, Adesanya was caught motivating himself, stating:
“I have no problem. I’m prepared to die. I’m prepared to.”
He took control of the fight in the the fifth round. In a dominant round, he would outstrike Gastelum by a significant margin, leading all three judges to award him a 10-8 round.
Revisit Israel Adesanya’s shocking form of self-motivation below:
Henry Cejudo’s perspective changed after watching Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira
Israel Adesanya is set to take on his former kickboxing rival Alex Pereira at UFC 281. Not only has Pereira gotten the best of Adesanya in both of their kickboxing meetings, he is also the only man to knock Adesanya out in any combat sport.
Former double champ Henry Cejudo had previously predicted a knockout victory for Pereira before watching the two previous fights and changing his perspective.
During the latest episode of his Fight Feedback segment, Cejudo claimed that the more aggressive fighter will emerge victorious, stating:
“Looking at this fight, I think my perspectives have changed from actually watching it and I do believe Israel has more of a chance now, but if you really analyze and pinpoint that fight – who is it that’s going to be the aggressor in that fight is the person that’s more likely going to win.”
Cejudo would add that Adesanya was much more successful when he was aggressive. He also noted that when Pereira started to become aggressive, he was able to land a vicious knockout.