Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya is the new interim UFC middleweight champion after a violent unanimous decision win over American Kelvin Gastelum in Atlanta.
A dominant fifth round performance from Adesanya saw him clinch the fight, with each judge scoring the fight 48-46.The pair met with the interim belt on the line as a result of events in February.
The victory means Adesanya remains unbeaten in the UFC with a 6-0 record and sets up a dream trans-Tasman unification bout with reigning middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.
Whittaker took to Twitter immediately after Adesanya’s win to congratulate him on the victory and signed off with: “See you soon“.
Adesanya becomes the first New Zealand based fighter to win a UFC belt.
At the end of the five rounds, all three judges scored the fight – that was closer than many expected – 48-46 in favour of Adesanya.
Both fighters finished the bout with blood smeared faces.
Born in Nigeria, ‘The Last Stylebender’ moved to New Zealand when he was 13 and his entire fighting career has been based out of his adopted country.
“I was willing to give it all and leave it all in there.
“I’m the champion, let’s go,” Adesanya said immediately after the fight.