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11th Feb 2018

We may have actually just witnessed the birth of a UFC superstar

He's already being compared to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva

Ben Kiely

Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya, remember the name.

We may have witnessed the birth of a future superstar on UFC 221’s preliminary card in the form of Israel Adesanya.

The Nigerian-born New Zealander was perhaps the most-hyped UFC debutant since Zabit Magomedsharipov in Rotterdam. He entered into his promotional debut with a staggering combat sports record. 50-5-2 in pro kickboxing, 5-1 in pro boxing and 11-0 in MMA.

All of his MMA wins prior to his UFC debut came by way of knockout. Among them was a sensational first-round finish over former UFC and Bellator veteran Melvin Guillard.

That win saw ‘The Last Style Bender’ earn the AFC middleweight title. Once he obliterated Stuart Dare in his next fight to win the Hex championship, the UFC made the call to get him on their Perth debut. He was matched against Rob Wilkinson, who was fighting on home soil. Supposedly, the Aussie was the fifth man who was offered the fight, but the first to accept it.

From the get-go, it was clear that ‘Razor’ wanted nothing to do with fighting Adesanya on the feet. He attempted 10 takedowns in the opening stanza, but was only able to convert two. He slowed the kickboxing phenom down, but this only served to delay the inevitable.

Once the second round began, Adesanya did his thing. He picked his adversary apart with his striking. In the fight-ending sequence, he unleashed an onslaught of knees, kicks and punches until the referee stepped in to award him the TKO victory at the 3:37 mark. Each strike landed was measured, but forceful.

After the fight, he sent the MMA community into a frenzy with his Octagon interview. He cut Jon Anik off mid-sentence to have a pop at UFC staff and other fighters on the roster.

“First of all, I just want to say something to the UFC fighters, the personnel backstage that are downwards and upwards. I see you guys creeping on my Instagram. Don’t think I don’t see you. You’ve been watching me and I’ve been watching you, but then when you roll up on me, you act like you don’t know me.  Boy, you know who I am now!”

Then he closed off with a one-liner that put the rest of the division on notice. Consider the promo cut.

“You heard me, I said. Middleweights, I’m the new dog in the yard and I just pissed all over this cage.”

Keep an eye on this guy. He’s already drawing comparisons to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva. These may be premature, but at 28, the potential for greatness is undeniable.