Sanabul Fight News: Week 1
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Israel Adesanya did what he does every single fight at middleweight, he put on a striking clinic. Mixing in the calf kicks with the high kicks (and everything in between), on the feet this was a lopsided fight. Whittaker, being the better grappler, completed 4 out of 10 attempted takedowns, and took Israel's back twice during the fight, to no avail. Israel Adesanya showed, once again, that it will take more than a little wrestling to beat him on the scorecards, and it will take more than a little boxing to knock him out. With his reach advantage, I think it will take a very special stylistic matchup to see Izzy lose in the middleweight division, likely a match in height/reach. In a card expected to end with a bang, it was some of the other fights that really took the spotlight.
Tai Tuivasa took the performance of the night for me, coming out with a win over Derrick Lewis in his hometown, Tai did the unexpected as a +150 underdog, and outlasted the limited amount of exertion that Lewis is able to produce over three rounds, ending with an insane knockout from the clinch, absolutely expect to see Tai in the rankings this week, and booked for a title eliminator. Although I do not see anyone beating Francis Ngannou anytime soon, it is nice to have some fresh talent in the heavyweight division. With Derrick taking this loss, it will be a long time before he ever sees a title shot again, and considering the up-and-coming talent in the heavyweight division, who knows how long he will be stuck gate-keeping for.
A bloodbath in the early prelims kicked it off with Douglas Silva De Andrade getting the win against Sergey Morozov in the second round, Douglas displaying a significant amount of work ethic and skill to take the win as a +170 underdog. Kyler Phillips showed how dangerous of a contender he is in the bantamweight division with an insane scrap ending with an armbar, I would look for a ranked opponent next for sure, and wouldn’t be surprised if he jumped ahead of Ricky Simon on the rankings this week to #13. Roxanne Modaferri put her career to rest on Saturday night, leaving the gloves in the octagon after a hard fought (controversial) split decision loss to “King” Casey O’Neill during the prelims. I’d look for Casey to jump from around 7-10 in the rankings with Roxanne being removed as well.
One thing we all need to acknowledge after UFC 271, is the athleticism and work ethic of Jared Cannonier in the middleweight division. In 2015, Jared Cannonier was a heavyweight in the UFC, changing his lifestyle around he is now outlasting the grappling of Derek Brunson, without the slightest drop in his cardio. Jared came out firing after standing up in the second round, and showed some extremely powerful striking with an insane knockout ending with Brunson going lights out. With the win, Jared used his octagon interview to sternly make sure Dana knew that he is next for a title shot, which is well deserved.