Israel Adesanya delivered a perfect performance to knock out bitter rival Paulo Costa and retain his UFC middleweight championship.

Israel Adesanya delivered a perfect performance to knock out bitter rival Paulo Costa and retain his UFC middleweight championship.

The fight which took place in Abu Dhabi saw Adesanya pick apart his far bigger opponent before landing brutal ground strikes in the second round.

Costa was left bloodied and bruised on the canvas, with his undefeated record in tatters after being picked apart so ruthlessly.

The Brazilian simply could not close the distance, eating brutal lead leg kicks, desperately swinging to try and land a powerful performance.

However, Adesanya showcased all his kickboxing and boxing experience by utilising his jab and footwork to evade the onrushing Costa.

The South American was opened up above his right eye with a head kick and knew the fight was in danger of slipping away from him.

In order to swing the momentum back his way, Costa tried to make it an inside fight, but Adesanya once again had the advantage and caught him with a chopping left hook.


Costa hit the deck and desperately tried to stay out of range of the elbows and punches which were raining down.

After the fight Adesanya then took the chance to call out Jared Cannonier as he confirmed he would fight the American, if he could beat Robert Whittaker.

He said: “I know this game, I don’t just play this on EA Sports, I play this for real, so when I do this, I know what I’m talking about.

“I still have to watch it again, little bit sloppy, but I’m a dog and I do what I do.

“I still don’t like him. I don’t know him personally, I don’t wish he dies or anything, he’s alive, I let him be alive.

“This is the game we play, this is violence and I told you guys that it was going to be violent and I said it, it’s going to be violent and it’s going to end fast and that’s what I did. I’m fresh, I can go next weekend, I can go anytime.

“I want to spend time with my family because it’s been a crazy year, so I want to go spend time with my people.

“Cannonier, I want Cannonier next.”

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