"The Last Stylebender" boasts an impressive combat sports resume – having competed in 80 professional kickboxing bouts, six pro boxing matches, and 19 MMA fights.
The New Zealand-based martial arts stalwart, who was born in Nigeria, has proudly represented both his adopted nation as well as his country of birth on the global platform with a myriad of awe-inspiring performances across not one but three combat sports for more than a decade.
Israel Adesanya presently holds the UFC Middleweight Championship and is scheduled to defend it against fellow knockout artist Paulo “The Eraser” Costa (13-0) at UFC 253 on September 26th, 2020.
While the former is revered as both a technically proficient volume striker as well as a creative KO artist, Costa is notorious for adopting a more high-risk yet equally effective striking strategy which has earned the latter significant success in knocking out all but two of his opponents.
In light of the aforementioned clash of terrifyingly talented knockout savants, today we examine some of the more intriguing aspects of reigning UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya’s striking.
Our following discussion has been condensed into five of Israel Adesanya’s most effective and interesting striking techniques.
#5 Israel Adesanya uses a diverse range of jabs
In case you, the reader, happen to be a striking coach or martial arts practitioner who’s experienced in a striking-based martial art; I can all but see you nodding your head in disagreement after having read my aforementioned assertion (it’s in the heading of this particular section; in case you missed it!) regarding Israel Adesanya’s jabs.
Rest assured; I concur with your disagreement. I’ll admit that a single article can’t possibly do justice to the wide range of jabs that Adesanya has utilized over the course of his long and storied career in the boxing, kickboxing, and MMA realms.
Nevertheless, if one were to describe Adesanya’s arsenal of jabs in a nutshell, it’d be best to break it down into a few important types for us to better understand them –
One ought to note that these jabs aren’t exclusively utilized by Adesanya and are indeed taught to most striking pupils in every decent striking-centric training institute around the world. Be that as it may, what makes Adesanya so special is the fact that he actually sticks to the basics and has always adhered to one of the cardinal rules of jabbing:
Never let a jab go in vain, even if it doesn’t connect! Feint, jab, connect, stick and move!
That brings us to one of the most important facets of his jab, the feints, which Adesanya uses in order to elicit a reaction from his opponent. Once they disengage from a given striking exchange, he subsequently uses the reactions so as to predict where his opponent will move in the ensuing striking exchanges.
Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Israel Adesanya’s all-time classic matchup against Kelvin Gastelum for the Interim UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 236 is an excellent example of the former’s masterful execution of the jab.
Adesanya used the low-powered probing jab, primarily in order to gauge the distance between him and Gastelum as well as to keep tagging the latter and resultantly out-point him.
Despite not planting his feet on the ground and adding power to the jabs, which needless to say made said jabs low-powered, the cumulative damage such strikes inflict upon one’s opponent is oftentimes criminally underrated.
Additionally, Adesanya was sagacious enough to mix things up not only with other punches such as straights when they faced off in opposite stances, crosses when both fought from the same stance (orthodox or southpaw), hooks, and uppercuts. He also attempted elbow strikes, kicks, and knees as well; all while maintaining good striking posture and discipline…