By News Team
4th March 2020
Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero meet in Las Vegas on Saturday night at UFC 248 for the middleweight title in what is set to be an enthralling fight.
Ahead of the clash, we take a look at Adesanya and Romero’s key stats and figures.
Tale of the tape
Name: Israel Adesanya
Nickname: The Last Stylebender
Nationality: Nigerian-New Zealand
Height: 6ft 4 inches
Reach: 80 inches
Professional record: 18-0-0
Professional knockouts: 14
UFC debut: 10/02/18
UFC record: 6-0-0
UFC rounds: 21
UFC knockouts: 3
Anderson Silva – 09/02/19
Adesanya hasn’t been around the UFC long, but his last three fights have all been memorable to say the least. After Robert Whittaker had pulled out of his title defence against Romero with just hours’ notice due to injury, Stylebender’s match with middleweight legend and one of the pound-for-pound best of all time, Anderson Silva, was made a last-minute main event.
The two did not disappoint. They went to war in a bout that a had a bit of everything: technique, amazing striking, great movement and a bit of showboating. Ultimately, the two spent men had gained each other’s respect and ended the fight by embracing before Adesanya was announced as the winner by unanimous decision.
Kelvin Gastelum – 13/04/19
If you haven’t seen this fight already, watch it! Now. Gastelum and Stylebender battled it out in Georgia for the interim middleweight title in what is widely considered the best fight of 2019, and an absolute UFC classic.
Gastelum had Adesanya rocked within 10 seconds of the fight, sending him sprawling against the cage with a sharp right hand. Adesanya then knocked Gastelum down himself in round two, before fighting his way up from a potentially dangerous takedown in round three. It was the middle of round four, however, where the pace really went up, with the two men unloading haymakers on one another in the centre of the ring.
In an incredible final round, Gastelum somehow managed to fight his way out of a triangle choke before being knocked down by a series of blows to the head. As time ticked away, it looked as though Adesanya could finish the fight with seconds to spare, but Gastelum bravely held on before coming out on the wrong side of the judges’ decision.
Robert Whittaker – 05/10/19
Having sealed the interim belt against Gastelum, Adesanya now had just one man standing in the way of him becoming undisputed UFC middleweight champion: Robert Whittaker.
Champion Whittaker was returning from some serious injuries, and didn’t look the same man who himself had been to war with Gastelum on two occasions previously. Whittaker tweaked one of his injured knees late in the first round and never recovered. Adesanya caught Whittaker with a left hand late in the second as he overextended, buckling the champion’s legs from underneath him.
Adesanya had blown through the UFC’s middleweight rankings like a hurricane and was now the undisputed champion.
UFC career record
Beat Rob Wilkinson via KO/TKO in round 2 – 10/02/18
Beat Marvin Vettori via split-decision – 14/04/18
Beat Brad Tavares via unanimous decision – 06/07/18
Beat Derek Brunson via KO/TKO in round 1 – 11/03/18
Beat Anderson Silva via unanimous decision – 09/02/19
Beat Kevin Gastelum via unanimous decision – 13/04/19
Beat Robert Whittaker via KO/TKO in round 2 – 05/10/19
Tale of the tape
Name: Yoel Romero
Nickname: The Soldier of God
Reach: 73.5 inches
Professional record: 13-4-0
Professional knockouts: 14-0-0
UFC debut: 10/09/11
UFC record: 9-4-0
UFC rounds: 40
UFC knockouts: 7
Chris Weidman– 12/11/16
Despite his incredible MMA record leading up to this bout, Romero was the slight underdog against former middleweight champion Chris Weidman at UFC 205. In reality, the Cuban had the edge throughout the fight, finishing Weidman in the third round with a brutal knee to the head and some customary Romero ground-and-pound.
Luke Rockhold – 10/02/18
Granted an unexpected shot at the UFC interim belt against Luke Rockhold, Romero failed to make the 185lb weight limit and therefore faced Rockhold in a non-title bout.
The two jousted in the earlier rounds, with both landing significant strikes. Romero was rocked by a Rockhold left in the first, before Romero seized the initiative in the second. ‘God’s Soldier’ would then underline his title potential with a third-round knockout following a picture-perfect overhand right.
Robert Whittaker– 09/07/19
Having lost to Whittaker in an interim title match in 2017 by unanimous decision, the Cuban was out for revenge in their second bout. Once again, though, Romero would miss the weight limit for a title match, meaning he would not become the middleweight champion with a win.
As it happened, he would emerge on the wrong side of the judges’ decision following a classic main-event match. Both men had their opponents in trouble, with Whittaker seriously rocked in rounds two and three. Whittaker, though, would come alive in the championship rounds, landing more than five times as many significant strikes in round four and having his arm raised via split-decision at the end of the fifth.
UFC career record
Lost to Rafael ‘Feijao’ Cavalcante via KO/TKO in round 2 – 10/09/11
Beat Clifford Starks via KO/TKO in round 1 – 20/04/13
Beat Ronny Markes via KO/TKO in round 3 – 06/11/13
Beat Derek Brunson via KO/TKO in round 3 – 15/01/14
Beat Brad Tavares via unanimous decision – 19/04/14
Beat Tim Kennedy via KO/TKO in round 3 – 27/09/14
Beat Lyoto Machida via KO/TKO in round 3 – 27/06/15
Beat Jacare Souza via split-decision – 12/12/15
Beat Chris Weidman via KO/TKO in round 3 – 12/11/16
Lost to Robert Whittaker via unanimous decision – 08/07/16
Beat Luke Rockhold via KO/TKO in round 3 – 10/02/18
Lost to Robert Whittaker via split-decision – 09/07/19
Lost to Paulo Costa via unanimous decision – 17/08/19