Israel Adesanya had to fight tooth and nail to win the UFC’s interim middleweight title tonight at UFC 236 against Kelvin Gastelum in a sensational barburner of a co-main event that saw both men badly hurt but refusing to give in.
The co-main event interim middleweight title fight is underway in Atlanta.
Gastelum takes the center of the cage to start, but Adesanya doesn’t back up. Front kick to the body from Adesanya.
Leg kick for Adesanya. One in return from Gastelum. Hard body kick for Adesanya. Gastelum lands a left hook that just catches Adesanya despite his good head movement.
Gastelum stepping in with punches and Adesanya ducks under, but eats a body kick. Gastelum starting to move on the outside now.
Gastelum with a big right hook and he staggers Adesanya backwards. Adesanya rights himself and gets back to the center of the Octagon though.
Body punch for Adesanya. Body kick for Adesanya and he just avoids big punches coming back from Gastelum.
Great head movement from Adesanya to avoid Gastelum’s offense there and look to land something of his own.
Right and left hooks from Gastelum just miss and no more. Adesanya still finding his range here, but despite his huge size disadvantage, Gastelum is finding a home for his punches.
Body kick for Adesanya. Another one even harder lands. Now a left hook. Third body kick in the opening 30 seconds of the second round for Adesanya.
Body punch for Gastelum now. Adesanya with a punch to the body too. Punch over the top from Gastelum. Again to the body for Adesanya. Jab for Gastelum.
Aother body kick for Adesanya. Jab for Gastelum lands solidly. One-two for Gastelum. Kick for Adesanya. Head kick from Adesanya partially blocked.
Hard punches for Gastelum. Adesanya backs up a bit and Gastelum lands again.
Gastelum throwing again, but then Adesanya lands a right hand and floors Gastelum. Big moment for him, but Gastelum is back to his feet.
Kick and a punch for Adesanya. More punches land and Gastelum nods his head and then tries to fire back and misses.
Big right hand for Adesanya snaps Gastelum’s head back. Spinning back elbow for Adesanya but Gastelum takes it and tries for an immediate takedown.
It doesn’t pay off but he’s still swinging. Adesanya has definitely found his range now, but Gastelum goes for a takedown. Adesanya nicely stuffs it though and that’s another big moment for him in a good round that saw him change the momentum of the fight.
Body kick for Gastelum. Hard inside leg kick for Adesanya. Right hand for Adesanya. Body punch for Gastelum. Front kick ot the body from Adesanya.
In close Adesanya lands a knee upstairs. Body kick for Adesanya. Now a right hand. Kick upstairs is blocked though.
Aother high kick blocked. Inside leg kick for Gastelum. Great exchange in close with Gastelum landing punches and Adesanya connecting partially with a head kick.
Right hand for Adesanya. Winging hook misses from Gastelum and Adesanya punishes him with a right hand counter nad a knee.
Big right hook for Gastelum, but misses with his follow-ups. Head kick blocked from Adesanya. Gastelum lands a counter punch.
Missed punch from Adesanya and Gastelum gets in on his hips and brings him down. However Adesanya does well to back up to the cage and then stand quickly.
Back to striking range now. left hand for Gastelum. Left hand and a right kick for Adesanya. Leg kick for Gastelum. Light jab for Adesanya and then gets his head off-center to end the round.
Gastelum marching forward swinging hard but just missing. Adesanya using his footwork though.
Both men not quite finding the mark, then a clinch from Gastelum that doesn’t last long. Back to striking range. Left hand from Adesanya and then a hard knee to the body.
Left hand for Gastelum. Low inside kick from Adesanya. Strike lands upstairs from Adesanya. Jab for Gastelum. Right and a left from Gastelum gets through.
Counter strike from Adesanya as Gastelum swings again. Looping left grazes Adesanya. Gastelum swings and then moves into the clinch against the cage.
Adesanya nicely out though. Gastelum with an inside leg kick. jab for Gastelum. Solide right hand for Adesanya. Gastelum lands soon after.
Two right hands for Adesanya and one for Gastelum. Adesanya bleeding to the face now. Jab and then a left hand for Gastelum.
Left hook for Gastelum. Solid jab for Adesanya. Another lands, but not as cleanly. Head kick from Gastelum and Adesanya is rocked.
Gastelum presses forward and Adesanya is wobbled here. Puzzlingly Gastelum goes for the takedown though and Adesanya stuffs it.
Now Adesanya with a kick upstairs. Gastelum lands again. Adesanya makes it to the end of the round, but he was hurt in that round and he’s still got five minutes to go.
Gastelum stalking his opponent now, but Adesanya eludes him for now. Oblique kick from Adesanya. Leg kick for Gastelum.
Inside leg kick for Adesanya. Body punch for Gastelum. Now a short flurry of punches from Adesanya. Front kick upstairs for Adesanya.
Another punch lands. Gastelum with a leg kick. Hard right hand for Adesanya. Gastelum tries for a takeddown, but Adesanya catches him in a guillotine. However Gastelum manages to slip out of it and ends on top.
Adesanya with a triangle choke and it’s not quite in but Gastelum’s in trouble but escapes and they get back upright.
Big punches from Adesanya. There’s a lull and then Gastelum connects. Another huge right hand for Adesanya, but Gastelum is stil upright.
Right hand connects again for Adesanya. Now body kicks. Gastelum chasing with looping punches and then into a takedown attempt against the cage, but Adesanya gets out of it quickly.
Grazing punch for Adesanya. Another blasting right hand snaps Gastelum’s head back. Leg kic k for Gastelum. Right hands for Adesanya in quick succession and Gastelum gets floored!
However, Gastelum is tough as nails and stands back up and barrels Adesanya across the cage looking for a takedown. He doesn’t do it though and Adesanya lands an elbow.
Adesanya is on fire now and motions Gastelum in then blasts him again and drops him with a right hook. Amazing stuff from Adesanya to come back like this in the last round.
Gastelum is really badly hurt, but still refusing to give up. Adesanya coming after him again looking for a finish in the final seconds though and Gastelum goes down again from a left hook, but Adesanya can’t stop him before the final bell.
What an incredible fight that was then and a truly remarkable fifth round display from Adesanya to bounce back from being rocked in the fourth to completely outstrike Gastelum in the final five minutes.
Adesanya wins by unanimous decision (48-46 x3) and claims the interim middleweight title in what may well end up being one of the fights of the year.