Unbeaten Israel Adesanya yesterday defended his middleweight title in style with a dominant second-round stoppage of Paulo Costa at UFC 253.
Poland’s Jan Blachowicz also stopped Dominick Reyes late in the second round on Fight Island, the mixed martial arts promotion’s bubble performance venue in the Middle East, to claim the light heavyweight title vacated by Jon Jones.
Adesanya (20-0) carved up his previously unbeaten Brazilian opponent with flair and ease, battering Costa with leg kicks before ending it late in the second round. Adesanya crumpled Costa with a combination at the center of the octagon, and the champion finished on the ground with 61 seconds left in the round.
“I told you guys that it was going to be violent, and it was going to end fast,” Adesanya said. “That’s what I did. It was a little bit sloppy, but I’m a dog, so I do what I do.”
The win was the ninth straight in the UFC for Adesanya, the Nigeria-born, New Zealand-based phenomenon who has soared to prominence in mixed martial arts over the past three years.
In UFC 253’s co-main event, the 37-year-old Blachowicz (27-8) capped his late-career surge by winning his first UFC title.
After controlling most of the action in a slow first round, Blachowicz apparently broke Reyes’ nose during the second round, and he abruptly ended it when he landed a high left hook to the side of Reyes’ head.
Reyes wobbled, stumbled and fell, and Blachowicz promptly finished him on the ground with 24 seconds left in the round.
“I still don’t believe it, but it’s here,” Blachowicz said. “It’s not a dream, right? It happened. I have the legendary Polish power, I proved it one more time... Even a pandemic can’t stop me right now.”
Unheralded flyweight Brandon Royval also had a highlight-reel win on Fight Island, stopping Kai Kara-France with a guillotine choke in the second round.
SWEEP THE LEG: Poirier, determined to best McGregor, after losing to him in 2014, used low calf kicks to throw ‘Notorious’ off his stand-up game, before dropping him American underdog Dustin Poirier yesterday shook up the world of mixed martial arts, beating up the legs of Irish superstar Conor McGregor before knocking him out at UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. “I’m happy, but I’m not surprised. I put in the work,” Poirier said, after the referee stepped in after 2 minutes, 32 seconds of the second round to save McGregor from further damage, after he was dropped by a fierce combination of punches. The 32-year-old Poirier was ranked second in the flyweight division going into the fight, but still rated a heavy underdog by bookmakers to beat his fourth-ranked opponent,
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