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Rob Wilkinson, the ex-UFC fighter Israel Adesanya beat in his debut, becomes the new PFL light heavyweight champion

Israel Adesanya (left) Rob Wilkinson (right) [Image Courtesy: Israel Adesanya via Getty Images and Rob Wilkinson via @razorrobwilkinson on Instagram]
Israel Adesanya (left), Rob Wilkinson (right) [Images courtesy: Israel Adesanya via Getty Images and Rob Wilkinson via @razorrobwilkinson on Instagram]

In 2018, Israel Adesanya defeated Rob Wilkinson via a second-round knockout in his debut at UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. Wilkinson was soon after released from the promotion, having fought only twice and coming up short on both occasions.

Wilkinson signed with the Professional Fighters League (PFL) earlier this year, competing in their light heavyweight division. After going on a three-fight unbeaten run in the new promotion, 'Razor' has emerged as the new PFL light heavyweight champion. On Friday, he defeated Omari Akhmedov via technical knockout, taking home a whopping $1 million prize.

In February 2018, Israel Adesanya finished Rob Wilkinson in his UFC debut.Wilkinson was released by the UFC after the fight.He then went on a 9 fight winning streak and just won $1 Million in the @PFLMMA.This is what makes the PFL Championship special. https://t.co/NNB8pAw9pa

The Australian dominated Akhmedov throughout the first round, keeping the pressure constant on the Dagestan native and almost finished his opponent with a flying knee before the bell rang.

In the second round, Wilkinson continued showcasing his striking prowess, opening up a nasty gash on Akhmedov's forehead and by the end of the round, the doctor decided he had seen enough and stopped the contest.

ROB WILKINSON GETS THE DOCTOR STOPPAGE TKO IN ROUND 2 #PFLWorldChampionship https://t.co/dYmwnq2qHu

When Israel Adesanya was disappointed with his win over Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221

Israel Adesanya is widely regarded as one of the best strikers in the sport and is certainly one of the promotion's most popular fighters. Just 20 months after his UFC debut in 2018, 'The Last Stylebender' took home the middleweight title and successfully defended it five times.

However, Adesanya is not always happy with his performances and once spoke about his debut fight against Rob Wilkinson. In a 2018 interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Israel Adesanya shared his disappointment with himself:

"I'm glad I felt him against the fence because as soon as I got up with my back on the fence, it's like I flashed to having one of my teammates hold me against the fence... I think maybe I put a little bit high expectations on myself that I was gonna finish him in the first.”

He continued:

β€œIn the second round, there was a point, I think, after his first shot... I start to drive a little bit, shake and bait, that was to light him up on the feet. But even the finish was kind of just 'meh' but you see how I finished him. I was methodical, I was surgical with it."
Promising prospect @StyleBender describes his finish over Rob Wilkinson at UFC 221 as "meh." What did you think of it? #TheMMAHour https://t.co/DI77B1EQEz

Adesanya's opponent Rob Wilkinson managed to control him along the fence for the majority of the first round. However, the Australian did not survive the onslaught of strikes to the body, forcing the referee to stop the contest in the second round.

Israel Adesanya recently lost his middleweight crown to Alex Pereira at UFC 281, getting knocked out by the Brazilian in the fifth round. It is expected that there will be a rematch between the two former kickboxing rivals, considering their history and achievements in combat sports.

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Edited by Aziel Karthak
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