Israel Adesanya at UFC 230
|Born||Israel Oluwafemi Adesanya|
22 July 1989
|Nickname(s)||The Last Stylebender|
|Residence||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Height||193 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||84 kg (185 lb; 13 st 3 lb)|
|Reach||80 in (203 cm)|
|Fighting out of||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Rank||Blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under André Galvão|
|Professional boxing record|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Boxing record from BoxRec|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Israel Adesanya (born 22 July 1989) is a Nigerian-born New Zealand based professional mixed martial artist. He has also competed in kickboxing and boxing. As a mixed martial artist, he is currently signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where he is the UFC Middleweight Champion. In kickboxing, he is the former Glory middleweight contender winner and King in the Ring two-time cruiserweight and heavyweight champion. As of 24 May 2020, he is #4 in the UFC men's pound-for-pound rankings.
Israel Adesanya was born in Lagos, Nigeria to a family of five children. His father, Femi, is an accountant and his mother, Taiwo, is a nurse. Israel attended Chrisland School, Opebi, and enrolled in its Taekwondo after-school club until he was removed by his mother due to an injury. In early 2001, he relocated to Ghana with his family for 10 months, but due to his parents wanting their children to receive a well-recognised higher education, he settled in Rotorua, New Zealand at age 10 and attended Rotorua Boys' High School. Adesanya was not interested in sport during high school; instead he was interested in Japanese anime such as Death Note and Naruto. He was heavily bullied during his high school years and attributes the mistreatment he experienced to his decision to pursue martial arts later in life.
At the age of 18, Adesanya started training in kickboxing, after being inspired by the Muay Thai film Ong-Bak. He went on to amass an amateur kickboxing record of 32–0 before moving to and fighting in China. At the age of 21, Adesanya moved to Auckland, New Zealand, and began training under Eugene Bareman at City Kickboxing, with other established MMA fighters such as Dan Hooker, Kai Kara-France and Alexander Volkanovski.
Mixed martial arts career
Glory World Series
In March 2014, Adesanya became the first New Zealander to sign a deal with the Glory promotion company after he spent the past previous six months in China fighting full-time. He lost a unanimous points decision in his debut fight to Belgian Filip Verlinden at Glory 15 in Istanbul, Turkey. It was only his second loss of the then 24-year-old's career.
King in the Ring
After picking up his thirty-third career win over Charles August, Adesanya announced he would compete in the King in the Ring last-man-standing tournament in Auckland, New Zealand. Adesanya was scheduled to enter in the cruiserweight division at ASB Stadium the following week. He won the event with wins over fellow countrymen Slava Alexeichik, Pati Afoa, and Jamie Eades.
Adesanya made his professional debut in 2012. Fighting in Hong Kong, Australia and China over the next five-and-a-half years, he amassed a record of 11–0, with all wins coming via KO/TKO, prior to being signed by the UFC.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
In December 2017, it was announced that Adesanya had signed with the UFC. He made his debut against Rob Wilkinson on 11 February 2018, at UFC 221. He won the fight via TKO in the second round. This win earned him the Performance of the Night bonus.
Adesanya faced Brad Tavares on 6 July 2018, at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale. Adesanya won the one-sided fight via unanimous decision. This win earned him his second Performance of the Night award.
UFC Middleweight Championship
Adesanya faced Kelvin Gastelum for the interim UFC Middleweight Championship on 13 April 2019, at UFC 236. He won the fight via unanimous decision. This fight earned him the Fight of the Night award. The fight was widely regarded as the best fight of the year, earning the nomination from most of the MMA news outlets.
Adesanya faced Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout on 6 October 2019 at UFC 243. He won the fight via knockout in the second round to become the undisputed UFC middleweight champion. This win earned him his fourth Performance of the Night award.
Adesanya next faced Yoel Romero on 7 March 2020 UFC 248. He won the fight via unanimous decision and defended the UFC middleweight championship successfully for the first time. Many fans and pundits felt disappointed due to the low activity by both fighters which resulted in a largely uneventful fight in which neither fighter was able to deliver any significant offense.
Adesanya is a fan of anime and would like to start an anime production company after retiring from fighting. His nickname "The Last Stylebender" is a reference to Avatar: The Last Airbender, an anime-influenced cartoon series.
Championships and accomplishments
Mixed martial arts
- Ultimate Fighting Championship
- UFC Middleweight Championship (One time, current)
- One successful title defense
- Interim UFC Middleweight Championship (One time)
- Performance of the Night (Four times) vs. Rob Wilkinson, Brad Tavares, Derek Brunson and Robert Whittaker
- Fight of the Night (Two times) vs. Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum
- Most Knockdowns in a UFC Title Fight (4)
- UFC Middleweight Championship (One time, current)
- Australian Fighting Championship
- AFC Middleweight Champion (one time)
- Hex Fighting Series Middleweight
- Hex Fighting Series Middleweight Champion (one time)
- MMA Fighting
- 2018 Rising Star of the Year.
- The Body Lock
- 2019 Fighter of the Year
- World MMA Awards
- 2018 Breakthrough Fighter of the Year
- Halberg Awards
- 2019 New Zealand Sportsman of the Year
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter
- King in the Ring
- Super 8 III (Cruiserweight II)
- Super 8 IV (Cruiserweight III)
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|19 matches||19 wins||0 losses|
|Win||19–0||Yoel Romero||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 248||7 March 2020||5||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Defended the UFC Middleweight Championship.|
|Win||18–0||Robert Whittaker||KO (punches)||UFC 243||6 October 2019||2||3:33||Melbourne, Australia||Won and unified the UFC Middleweight Championship. Performance of the Night.|
|Win||17–0||Kelvin Gastelum||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 236||13 April 2019||5||5:00||Atlanta, Georgia, United States||Won the interim UFC Middleweight Championship. Fight of the Night.|
|Win||16–0||Anderson Silva||Decision (unanimous)||UFC 234||10 February 2019||3||5:00||Melbourne, Australia||Fight of the Night.|
|Win||15–0||Derek Brunson||TKO (knees and punches)||UFC 230||3 November 2018||1||4:51||New York City, New York, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||14–0||Brad Tavares||Decision (unanimous)||The Ultimate Fighter: Undefeated Finale||6 July 2018||5||5:00||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||13–0||Marvin Vettori||Decision (split)||UFC on Fox: Poirier vs. Gaethje||14 April 2018||3||5:00||Glendale, Arizona, United States|
|Win||12–0||Rob Wilkinson||TKO (punches)||UFC 221||11 February 2018||2||3:37||Perth, Australia||Performance of the Night.|
|Win||11–0||Stuart Dare||KO (head kick)||Hex Fighting Series 12||24 November 2017||1||4:53||Melbourne, Australia||Won the vacant Hex Fight Series Middleweight Championship.|
|Win||10–0||Melvin Guillard||TKO (punches)||Australia Fighting Championship 20||28 July 2017||1||4:49||Melbourne, Australia||Won the AFC Middleweight Championship.|
|Win||9–0||Murad Kuramagomedov||TKO (punches)||Wu Lin Feng: E.P.I.C. 4||28 May 2016||2||1:05||Henan, China|
|Win||8–0||Andrew Flores Smith||TKO (corner stoppage)||Glory of Heroes 2||7 May 2016||1||5:00||Shenzhen, China|
|Win||7–0||Dibir Zagirov||TKO (punches)||Wu Lin Feng: E.P.I.C. 2||13 March 2016||2||2:23||Henan, China|
|Win||6–0||Vladimir Katykhin||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Wu Lin Feng: E.P.I.C. 1||13 January 2016||2||N/A||Henan, China|
|Win||5–0||Gele Qing||TKO (elbows)||Wu Lin Feng 2015: New Zealand vs. China||19 September 2015||2||3:37||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Win||4–0||Maui Tuigamala||TKO (body kick)||Fair Pay Fighting 1||5 September 2015||2||1:25||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Win||3–0||Song Kenan||TKO (punches)||The Legend of Emei 3||8 August 2015||1||1:59||Shahe, China|
|Win||2–0||John Vake||TKO (punches)||Shuriken MMA: Best of the Best||15 June 2013||1||4:43||Auckland, New Zealand|
|Win||1–0||James Griffiths||TKO (punches)||Supremacy Fighting Championship 9||24 March 2012||1||2:09||Auckland, New Zealand||Middleweight debut.|
Kickboxing record (incomplete)
|Kickboxing record (incomplete)|
75 wins, 5 losses, 0 draws
Legend: Win Loss Draw/No contest Notes
Adesanya began his professional boxing career in November 2014 against two-time Australian champion Daniel Ammann. He was granted one of two wildcards to enter the inaugural cruiserweight Super 8 Boxing Tournament. The event was headlined by Shane Cameron and Kali Meehan at the North Shore Events Centre in Auckland, New Zealand. He suffered a controversial loss via unanimous decision after he looked to have outpointed Ammann in the quarter-finals.
Adesanya re-entered the Super 8 tournament in May 2015, held at Horncastle Arena in Christchurch. It was the second cruiserweight series with the winner receiving $25,000 NZD and a new car. He won his first professional fight against fellow New Zealander Asher Derbyshire in the first seed. Adesanya knocked his opponent out in the second round.
Professional boxing record
|6 fights||5 wins||1 loss|
|6||Win||5–1||Zane Hopman||UD||3||3 November 2015||SkyCity, Auckland, New Zealand|
|5||Win||4–1||Lance Bryant||UD||3||3 November 2015||SkyCity, Auckland, New Zealand|
|4||Win||3–1||Brian Minto||SD||4||28 March 2015||Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, New Zealand|
|3||Win||2–1||Lance Bryant||MD||3||28 March 2015||Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, New Zealand|
|2||Win||1–1||Asher Derbyshire||KO||2 (3)||28 March 2015||Horncastle Arena, Christchurch, New Zealand|
|1||Loss||0–1||Daniel Ammann||UD||3||22 November 2014||North Shore Events Centre, Auckland, New Zealand|
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- Profile at GLORY
- Israel Adesanya at UFC
- Professional MMA record for Israel Adesanya from Sherdog
- Boxing record for Israel Adesanya from BoxRec
|Mixed martial arts titles|
| 2nd UFC Middleweight Champion
10 October 2019 – Present
| 2nd King in the Ring Cruiserweight Champion
30 August 2014 – 11 April 2015
|Vacant|| 3rd King in the Ring Cruiserweight Champion
11 April 2015 – 17 November 2017
| 3rd King in the Ring Heavyweight Champion
31 October 2015 – 30 June 2017
| New Zealand's Sportsman of the Year