Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya successfully defended his middleweight belt for the first time by outpointing Yoel Romero via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 48-47) in the UFC 248 main event this past Saturday in Las Vegas.
Adesanya improved to 19-0 overall and 8-0 in the UFC, but this scrap was a complete snoozer that had the crowd roaring in disapproval due to the lack of action. Most of that can be attributed to Romero, who inexplicably was hesitant to engage for 25 minutes.
With that being the case, Adesanya was content to use his length to stay at distance and pepper Romero’s legs with kicks. At the age of 42, this was undoubtedly Romero’s last of three career shots to win UFC gold, yet he fought more tentatively than in any other Octagon appearance in his career.
Adesanya will now face undefeated Brazilian, Paulo Costa, who wants the New Zealand native on July 11. However, coming off surgery, UFC President Dana White downplayed that notion because Costa hasn’t been medically cleared to return since surgery.
BetOnline currently has Adesanya listed as a -185 favorite vs. Costa, who is a +160 underdog.
White didn’t beat around the bush when asked about the headliner. ‘The fight fu__ing sucked. Romero literally didn’t fight for 25 minutes. With that said, they were in a no-win situation after that co-main event.”
The co-main might have been the best women’s fight in UFC history. At his UFC 248 post-fight presser, White called it “one of the best fights I’ve ever seen, period” without even noting that the participants were females.
Zhang Weili retained her women’s strawweight belt by edging former five-time strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).
According to MMADecisions, 10 media members scored the scrap 48-47 for Weili and five had it 49-46 for the champ. Six media members had it 48-47 for Jedrzejczyk.
Both women took it to each other for 25 consecutive minutes. It was phone-booth fighting at its best.
It was back and forth with neither woman giving an inch. All three judges gave Jedrzejczyk the third round, but every other stanza was a mixed bag.
Even with Jedrzejczyk sporting a grotesque hematoma that basically covered her entire forehead as early as Round 3, she kept pressing forward with reckless abandon.
Both women were spent as Bruce Buffer announced the judges’ decision:
Jedrzejczyk’ significant strikes landed at 50 percent accuracy, connecting on 186-of-372 attempts. Weili connected on 165 significant strikes with 40 percent accuracy. They combined to attempt 783 strikes, landing 351 which was the third-most in UFC history (men or women’s).
Weili remained unbeaten in the UFC and extended her winning streak to 21. Jedrzejczyk fell to 2-4 in her last six fights, with each loss coming in a title fight to drop her career record to 6-4 in 10 career UFC title bouts.
Beneil Dariush earned a $50,000 Performance of the Night bonus with a second-round knockout win over Drakkar Klose. Dariush, who appeared to be hurt by Klose early in Round 2, rallied impressively to win his fourth fight in a row in the lightweight loop.
In a welterweight scrap, Neil Magny returned from a long layoff to defeat Li Jingliang by UD (30-27 across). In the main-card opener, Alex Oliveira beat Max Griffin by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) in a 170-pound showdown.
Sean ‘Sugar’ O’Malley came back after more than two years away to produce a vintage performance. He needed only 122 seconds to dispose of Jose Alberto Quinonez by first-round TKO (head kick and punches).
O’Malley took home an extra $50,000 with a POTN bonus. White declared afterward that he wants to get O’Malley back in the Octagon right away, so look for him to get booked against a Top-10 bantamweight in the next week or two.
The ladies, Weili and Jedrzejczyk, earned an extra $50,000 for Fight of the Night honors, in addition to becoming the early favorite to win the 2020 Fight of the Year.
However, the Octagon girls Brittney Palmer, Arianny Celeste and Brooklyn Wren, got MajorWager’s votes for pictures of the night: