UFC 248 will see the return of the middleweight champion Israel Adesanya as he makes his first title defence against the dangerous Yoel Romero. Adesanya has all the eyes firmly on him as the UFC hype train is firmly behind him. The 30-year-old kickboxer is undefeated in his MMA career and won the championship after beating Robert Whittaker with a technical knockout in the second round at UFC 243.
Adesanya has been in the UFC for just two years but has stamped his authority over the middleweight division. He has won several marquee fights against Kelvin Gastelum, Anderson Silva, Derek Brunson, and Whittaker.
Now, Adesanya faces an opponent who is one of the biggest punchers in the MMA world. 42-year-old Romero may have lost 3 of his last four fights but you can never count the ‘Soldier of God’ out. All of those losses were close decisions that could have gone either way. Adesanya admits he respects Romero’s explosiveness despite him not being his preference to watch.
“ This is martial arts and art is subjective. So for me, I don’t care how good you are, it’s about the artistry. So Yoel has never been a preference of mine to watch, but you have to respect his skill, his explosiveness, and what not, everything that he brings,’ Adesanya said.
The first time, I ever saw Yoel was in UFC 221, Perth Australia. That was my UFC debut, which is coincidentally going to be in a few days two years ago. I have only been here less than two years guys. I am still a freshman in the UFC. That was the first time I saw him when he was struggling to co-weight. but I made weight, I was underweight, and he did to make weight at that time, I remember watching him walk around, and yeah he had a hard time. That’s all when we had any like, ‘look’ of him, but today he is going to feel me.’
Adesanya also talked about the viral dance-off that took place at a press conference in February. The Kiwi admitted that Romero stole the moment with a spectacular backflip split.
‘I’ve had many dance battles and I’ve lost a few. He stole the moment and I know you can’t try to regain the moment, it’s done, it’s gone. He can win that battle – he needs to win something – because he’s not winning this belt. The fight’s going to be the rematch.’
Adesanya is confident that he will overcome the Romero threat at UFC 248 as there are no tricks left in the Cuban’s arsenal that can surprise him.
‘I’ll beat him the way I want to beat him. He’s a guy that hasn’t been finished properly in the UFC. Everyone avoids him. I shouldn’t have to take this fight, but I requested this fight because I didn’t want to sit down and chill. I like to stay active. He doesn’t have any tricks I don’t already know.’
‘Everyone’s going to be thinking about me differently when I beat him. I’m going to be the new boogeyman of the division. Everyone always said, “Feed him to Romero, feed him to a good wrestler.” You guys aren’t paying attention. This is about legacy and skills, not about the mentality of a threatening opponent. I’m up for the challenge.’
Source : https://www.hindustantimes.com