UFC 248: Rise of Israel Adesanya - Adesanya's journey to the UFC Middleweight Championship

Israel Adesanya
Israel Adesanya
Anirban Banerjee

2019 was the biggest year for Israel Adesanya in his entire career. Not only did he enter the year, still undefeated, but he was also about to fight some of the biggest opposition that he would ever face in the Octagon.

Israel Adesanya would have three fights in 2019, Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, and Robert Whittaker. Let's take a look at what happened to Israel Adesanya in 2019.

UFC 234: Israel Adesanya vs Anderson Silva

At UFC 234, Israel Adesanya was set to face Anderson Silva in the co-main event. However, something else was happening outside the picture. On the same card, the main event was supposed to be Kelvin Gastelum's title fight against Robert Whittaker for the UFC Middleweight Championship.

Unfortunately, Robert Whittaker, the Champion, would suffer from a hernia and a twisted collapsed bowel, with only hours to go before the fight. As a result, the fight would end up being canceled, and instead, Adesanya and Anderson Silva would be headlining the event.

Adesanya entered the Octagon with Silva, and it was a fight where there was a lot of respect between the two fighters. Adesanya showed that he respected Silva, and his values were evident in his behavior.

Anderson Silva was also returning to the Octagon after two years. Unfortunately for him, Adesanya overcame him in an amazing Unanimous Decision win.


UFC 236: Israel Adesanya vs Kelvin Gastelum

Kelvin Gastelum had been left without an opponent at UFC 234 and was ready to claim that he was the rightful Middleweight Champion by forfeiture. No one else seemed to agree with that, but Gastelum was about to get his chance to prove what he was saying.

With almost no rest after his epic bout with Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya went into UFC 236 to face Kelvin Gastelum for the Interim Middleweight Championship. Adesanya had a full five-round fight with Kelvin Gastelum, and although Gastelum was able to get some offense in, it was clear that Adesanya had absolutely dominated him.

In the end, Israel Adesanya came away with the Unanimous Decision victory, winning the Interim UFC Middleweight Championship. Finally, he was close to becoming the Undisputed Champion, something that he had his eyes set on when he had first made his debut in the UFC only 14 months before.


UFC 243: Israel Adesanya vs Robert Whittaker

While defeating the legendary Anderson Silva and winning the Interim UFC Middleweight Championship would be enough for most people in one year, Israel Adesanya was not done with 2019. He had one more thing that he wanted to do — becoming the Undisputed UFC Middleweight Championship.

At UFC 243, he faced Robert Whittaker in a fight that had the attention of the entire world. In the second round, at 3 minutes and 33 seconds, Israel Adesanya was able to knock out Robert Whittaker cleanly, thereby becoming the undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion.

ALSO READ: Where and how to watch UFC 248

Now, heading into his fight against Yoel Romero, Adesanya is set to defend his title for the first time, in what may be his biggest challenge to date this weekend.

Edited by Anurag Mitra
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