Competitive sports need good enemy qualities, producing dramatic moments. Over the years, Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira have built exactly that type of rivalry and in the main event of UFC 287 on Saturday night, Adesanya turned his still youthful head.
After more than seven years of trying to defeat Pereira in the middle of the kick ring and the UFC Octagon and failing on three separate occasions, Adesanya finally had his perfect moment, crushing Pereira with a pair of right hands to regain the UFC middleweight championship in the second round. knock
It was a fitting capper to the night, which saw all kinds of drama unfold in front of a live crowd at the Kaseya Center in Miami. Check out the biggest takeaways from these storylines coming to UFC 287.
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Israel Adesanya’s business sounded like a startup
Adesanya was a star well before he suffered a loss to Pereira at UFC 281. He’s had UFC gold for more than three years and his rise to the top of the sport is some truly impressive highlights. The splendor of Adesanya’s reign had begun to wear off, however. After his unsuccessful bid for lightweight gold against Jan Blachowicz, many Adesanya fans felt that he had lost something from his mouth, as Marvin Vettori, Robert Whittaker and Jared Cannonier fought to decisions in three fights.
In Pereira, Adesanya had a new rival in the play area. Knocking out Pereira at UFC 281 provided a somewhat satisfying conclusion to that story, but suffering a TKO loss may be the best that could happen to the overall star power of Adesanya. Pereira was Adesanya’s boogeyman, following him from kickboxing to the UFC and ending his incredible championship run. Adesanya retreated, got back into the Octagon with that monster and overwhelmed him with all-time great punches – had he won more than seven years ago? As that yeast mass, it is pregnant.
UFC 287 was all about Adesanya, from flipping the script on Pereira to .. Adesanya had obviously suffered three losses before Pereira, but doing so may have been exactly what was needed to take Adesanya’s career to the next level.
Jorge Masvidal becomes a fitting sendoff in defeat
In the lead up to his co-main event fight with Gilbert Burns, Jorge Masvidal repeatedly indicated that he would retire from mixed martial arts after losing. Of course, what a fighter says and what a fighter does are not always the same.
However, after Burns outpunished and dominated Masvidal over 15 minutes;, Masvidal did the right thing and went from a joke where he became an unlikely superstar. From starting fights on the road dressed by Kimbo Slice, to brawls on the beach for BodogFIGHT, to fighting in the Playboy mansion for Srikeforce, to going viral when he got caught in an inverted triangle with Toby Imada at Cage Fighters, Masvidal has fought. It seems everywhere and everything is possible. It’s incredible, when a long UFC stint ended the story that began after already 30 career fights is incredible.
But the man who once “officially” won the title of “Baddest Motherf—er” had lost four straight fights and wasn’t terribly close in any of those events. The luster of “mass” quickly fades when it does not translate into victories. Three and a half years after his last victory in the joke, Masvidal knew that he was no longer competing for the championship gold and either hang up or walk in front of his hometown fans in Miami. There was no better time and no better plan for one of MMA’s biggest brands to drop the gloves.
The rising star taught hard lessons
The UFC 287 main card kicked off with 18-year-old Raul Rosas Jr. looking to pick up another UFC win. Rose’s story is incredible. For a high school kid to not only receive a UFC contract, but also win his first fight in the promotion, is a wild achievement that can never be duplicated. But learning the job is a big ask when the Octagon site is the job. Against Christian Rodriguez, Rosas fought with all the enthusiasm and recklessness you’d expect from a teenager. Rodriguez is also young, but at 25, he is still much more developed physically, emotionally and mentally than a fighter still thinking about getting his high school diploma.
Rodriguez calmly led Rosas around the river’s first attempt to capture the captives, allowing Rosas to gas himself. As Rosas began to fade away, it was all Rodriguez’s fight to win a bloody victory.
Rosas undoubtedly still has plans to become the youngest champion in UFC history. However, his career may be best served if the UFC allows him to advance in the regional arena. There are no safe or easy fights in the UFC and Rosas is still a growing child. It is best to feast on smaller fish before being thrown into that dangerous ocean.
Adrian Yanez learned his hardest letters on the card. Riding a nine-fight winning streak that includes four knockouts in five UFC wins, Yanez took a big step forward in the fight when Rob Font moved on.
Yanez’s style had made him an attraction, but his style had some significant issues. For one thing, Yanez’s striking out and striking out stats in the UFC are pretty much the same. His resistance was effective enough that it had been a good war plan to take the ground. Finally someone caught up with Yanez and was reckless with the crime.
This is exactly what Font did, using some kind of flurry to land a big right hand that sent Yanez down. Now it’s up to Yanez to learn from what happened and clean up his game if he hopes to ever reach the top of the bantamweight division.