UFC 248: Israel Adesanya defends title against Yoel Romero
— UFC (@ufc) March 8, 2020
Unfortunately, the UFC middleweight title fight between champion Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero didn’t exactly meet the “fireworks” billing the UFC gave right before it had begun.
The Las Vegas crowd, either spoiled or fatigued after watching a tremendous fight between Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk, hurled boos down at the Octagon for almost the fight’s entire duration for what they apparently deemed as inactivity in the cage.
In the first round, only seven strikes were landed between the two and the pace didn’t pick up a whole lot afterwards.
Romero seemed content to take the centre of the Octagon with his bouncing style only to launch at Adesanya when he felt his defences were down. However, the Kiwi remained composed and peppered Romero with leg kicks at range whenever that opportunity was presented to him.
The Cuban did have some flashes of success in his blitzed attacks on his opponent, but the consistency of damage laid at the hands and legs of Adesanya as he picked off Romero in a risk-adverse, but efficient, manner.
Romero’s urgency did increase as the fight entered its last moments, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges sat cageside who all awarded the fight to Adesanya (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).
“It was a hard fight, but I did what I had to do,” Adesanya defiantly said to chorus of boos in the T-Mobile Arena.
He’s right. It wasn’t pretty, but “The Last Stylebender” did just enough to land his first UFC middleweight championship defence proper against one of the most feared men in the division.
UFC 248: Zhang Weili edges Joanna Jędrzejczyk in strawweight classic
Arguably the GREATEST fight in women's mixed martial arts history! 👏
— UFC (@ufc) March 8, 2020
As the horn sounded to signal the end of the enthralling contest between Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s fight, there was already talk about it being the greatest women’s fight in UFC history.
After 25 minutes of in-cage warfare, UFC women’s strawweight champion Zhang edged two of three judges’ scorecards for the split decision victory over Jedrzejczyk, the division’s longest reigning champion, to make the first defence of her title.
The Chinese fighter’s power seemed to be the difference maker. Both women had plenty of success with their offensive output, but the state of Jedrzejczyk’s ballooned forehead and a potential broken nose could have swayed the judges.
Despite the damage accrued over 25 minutes, Jedrzejczyk didn’t back down a jot against the strawweight buzzsaw. Zhang’s face also suffered significant swelling, while her legs were battered and bruised as the Pole punctuated her punches with crushing leg kicks.
Regardless of the result, both women have seemingly earned the respect of their counterpart after a tense pre-fight build up.
Could there be a rematch in the offing? If it’s anything like their first bout, who wouldn’t want that?
UFC 248: Adesanya vs. Romero full results
Middleweight: Israel Adesanya (c) def. Yoel Romero by unanimous decision after five rounds
Women’s Strawweight: Zhang Weili (c) def. Joanna Jędrzejczyk by split decision after five rounds
Lightweight: Beneil Dariush def. Drakkar Klose by KO (punch) at 1:00 of round two
Welterweight: Neil Magny def. Li Jingliang by unanimous decision after three rounds
Welterweight: Alex Oliveira def. Max Griffin by split decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: Sean O’Malley def. José Alberto Quiñónez by TKO (head kick and punches) at 2:02 of round one
Lightweight: Mark Madsen def. Austin Hubbard by unanimous decision after three rounds
Middleweight: Rodolfo Vieira def. Saparbek Safarov by submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:58 of round one
Middleweight: Gerald Meerschaert def. Deron Winn by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:13 of round three
Featherweight: Giga Chikadze def. Jamall Emmers by split decision after three rounds
Bantamweight: Danaa Batgerel def. Guido Cannetti by KO (punches) at 3:01 of round one