Nigerian-born New Zealander Israel Adesanya has defeated Brazilian Paulo Costa by a second round TKO to retain the Middleweight Championship in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC 253) main event on Saturday night.
The highly-anticipated grudge match between two undefeated fighters topped the card as the UFC returned to ‘Fight Island’ in Abu Dhabi, but for all the hype, the discrepancy in skill between Adesanya and his challenger was soon apparent.
Adesanya landed more than 20 leg kicks in the opening round as he set out to destabilise Costa’s base, and while the Brazilian was able to land some signature body kicks, his most eye-catching moments in the first frame came in the form of his taunting of ‘The Last Stylebender’.
By the start of Round 2 Adesanya opened up Costa’s face with a high kick and then finished off his challenger with a left counter punch to the dome to complete his masterclass and force referee Jason Herzog to call a stop to the action.
With the victory, Adesanya improved to 20-0 and dispatched a man many felt was his toughest challenger in the division.