Unbeaten Israel Adesanya defended his middleweight title in style with a dominant second-round stoppage of Paulo Costa at UFC 253 on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
Poland’s Jan Błachowicz also stopped Dominick Reyes late in the second round on Fight Island, the mixed martial arts promotion’s bubble performance venue in Abu Dhabi, UAE, to claim the light heavyweight title vacated by Jon Jones.
Adesanya (20-0) carved up his previously unbeaten Brazilian opponent with flair and ease, battering Costa with leg kicks before ending it late in the second round. Adesanya crumpled Costa with a combination at the center of the octagon, and the champion finished on the ground with 61 seconds left in the round.
“I told you guys that it was going to be violent, and it was going to end fast,” Adesanya said. “That’s what I did. It was a little bit sloppy, but I’m a dog, so I do what I do.”
The win was the ninth straight in the UFC for Adesanya, the Nigeria-born, New Zealand-based phenomenon who has soared to prominence in mixed martial arts over the past three years.
In UFC 253′s co-main event, the 37-year-old Błachowicz (27-8) capped his late-career surge by winning his first UFC title.
Adesanya won his title last year by beating Robert Whittaker, but he was in need of a redemptive performance after defending his belt last March with a stupendously boring decision over Yoel Romero in Las Vegas.
The champion known as “The Last Stylebender” reminded the UFC just what he can do while dispatching Costa with ease.
In July, UFC’s “Fight Island” venue came into operation with a set of health and safety measures in place due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.