Nigerian mixed martial artist and boxer, Israel Adesanya, has been crowned the new Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight interim champion.
The current UFC middleweight champion, Robert Whittaker, has been scheduled for two headline fights in his country of residence, Australia, but was a no-show on both occasions.
Having failed to defend his title for a long time, the UFC was mandated to crown a new interim champion.
Adesanya (17-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) defeated Kelvin Gastelum (15-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), by unanimous decision on Saturday, April 13, 2019, to claim the interim 185-pound title in “Fight of the Year” contender, which co-headlined UFC 236.
At the end of the five round thrilling encounter, all three judges scored the fight 48-46 in favor of Adesanya.
The crowd were on their Fert to give both fighters a rousing ovation at the end of the bout.
This ultimately sets Adesanya as the next challenger for Whittaker’s title when he makes a return to the ring.
Whittaker took to twitter to congratulate Adesanya on the monumental win, and signed off with the comment, “See you soon”.
The ‘The Last Stylebender’ as Adesanya is fondly called, was born in Nigeria. He moved to New Zealand at age 13, where his entire fighting career has been based.
Speaking after his win against Gastelum, Adesanya said, he was willing to give up everything to win the fight.
“I was willing to give it all and leave it all in there. I’m the champion. Let’s go!” — Adesanya
Recall that barely four weeks ago, another Nigerian, Kamaru Usman, became the first African to win a UFC Belt.
Kamaru, who currently holds UFC Welterweight Championship belt, has also congratulated Adesanya for the huge win.
Featured image source: Stuff.co.nz