UFC Middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya can see a title shot in his near future, providing he is capable of defeating his most challenging opponent to date in Derek Brunson. Adesanya will go toe-to-toe with Brunson in a middleweight contest on this Saturday’s main card at UFC 230. “The Last Stylebender” informed the media that he plans on showcasing all his skills in a breakthrough performance. There are four top-tier middleweights competing on the main card of UFC 230, with both co-main event combatants, Chris Weidman and Ronaldo Jacare Souza, believing they should be next in line to welcome Robert Whittaker back to the octagon.
However, Adesanya believes that a special performance against Brunson will allow him to leapfrog the fighters ahead of him in the rankings and put himself in the position to take on the winner of the arranged Middleweight title fight between 185lbs champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum. A fight that Adesanya wants in his own backyard.
“Right now, we need another show in Auckland, New Zealand, and I feel that’s the fight. In one year, I skyrocketed up the ranks. Next year I’m going to snatch the belt off Robert in Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand. It’s going to be historic. If Robert wins against Gastelum, that’s going to be the one where it’s like the Kiwis versus the Aussies. The all-black versus the wallaby. That’s sports rivalry. It’s classic. I can leapfrog them anytime.”
UFC 230 goes down at the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York. Adesanya vs. Brunson will be the first bout on the 5-bout PPV main card following Fight Pass and FS1 Prelims. Adesanya, undefeated in MMA after 14 fights, is of the opinion that Derek Brunson is the ideal “showcase fight”, allowing him to cement himself as a real contender at 185lbs. There has been plenty of mocking and ridicule coming from both men in the lead up to their MSG bout, but “The Last Stylebender” claims that none of the trash-talk has been taken personally.
“Every other guy that I’ve fought kind of has something to say. Everyone believes in themselves. If you don’t believe you’re the best or don’t believe you can do this, why are you here? There’s no point in being here. Everyone’s got something to say. They want to be like, ‘Oh, I’m going to do this, I’m going to whoop this guy’s ass.’ But there’s a difference between knowing. If you know, you know. I’ve always known since my first fight, but he’s saying the same rhetoric like my other opponents always say: ‘He’s this, he’s that, he’s all hype.’ It’s the same blueprint. It’s the same sh*t. Then when they get in there with me, they get hit.”
The extremely elite standup game of Adesanya means he is certainly a problem on the feet for anyone who stands across the Octagon from him. He believes his striking game is particularly dangerous against his adversary at UFC 230, due to the fact Brunson is especially known for his tendency to come in really aggressive from the first bell and holds the record for the most first-round knockouts in the history of the UFC middleweight division.
Speaking to the media, Adesanya claimed that there is no perfect fighting style to defeat him, but concedes that to catch him early is the most likely way for Brunson to get the win.
“If I was him, I would come at me swinging. That’s his only chance of trying to catch a well-timed shot. But it’s a risk – a big risk – because that’s going to leave him wide open for my counters. He comes at me, and he’s going to be in slow-motion. I’ll find all the spots I can hit him through. Let him come through, do whatever he wants. I’m still going to do what I want to do.”