Adesanya retains UFC title with early TKO of Costa

Published September 27, 2020, 8:30 PM

by Carlo Anolin

UFC middlweight champion Israel Adesanya (Photo from Israel Adesanya’s Twitter account @stylebender)

Israel Adesanya remained unbeaten after successfully defending his UFC middleweight title with a second-round stoppage of Paulo Costa in UFC 253 in Abu Dhabi’s Fight Island Saturday night (Sunday, Manila time).

Adesanya blew his opponent with solid combinations, highlighted by a left hook that wobbled Costa, before taking him into a ground and pound action at the center of the cctagon.

This prompted referee Jason Herzog to stop the match at the 2:59 mark.

“By the second round I knew his left leg was f—ed,” said Adesanya, who unleashed several leg kicks and striking combinations that proved lethal in the second round. “He couldn’t push off.”

“I told you guys that it was going to be violent, and it was going to end fast. That’s what I did. It was a little bit sloppy, but I’m a dog, so I do what I do,” the 31-year-old champion added.

It was only the second time in UFC history that two undefeated male fighters met for a title match, and the first time since 2009 when Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida fought for the light heavyweight belt.

With the win, the Nigeria-born fighter took his ninth consecutive victory and his second successful defense of the title after a unanimous decision win over Yael Romeo last March.

Adesanya stole the middleweight title last year by taking down Robert Whittaker.

Costa, meanwhile, suffered his first defeat in 14 matches.

In the light heavyweight title match, Poland’s Jan Blachowicz stopped Dominick Reyes late in the second round to take the throne that was vacated by UFC great Jon Jones.

The win made Blachowicz the first man to hold the division title since 2011 other than Jones and former champion Daniel Cormier.

The stoppage came after Blachowicz threw a flurry of punches, which bloodied Reyes’ nose that appeared to be broken.

The 37-year-old Blachowicz took his eighth win in the division since 2017 to improve at 27-8 while Reyes slipped to 12-2.