Wilkinson’s 11-1 record and Octagon experience wasn’t enough to bother Adesanya, though. Halfway through the second round, referee Steve Perceval had seen all he needed to. Adesanya’s TKO win earned him Performance of the Night honors, and he would go on to edge out Marvin Vettori only two months later before collecting five more performance bonuses.
Overall, Adesanya was able to collect six performance bonuses in under two years, even pulling off 2019’s Fight of the Year honors in his interim middleweight title fight against Kelvin Gastelum. “The Last Stylebender” went from UFC debut to champion so fast that he seemed to skip the “rising star” label altogether.
From his first moments in the Octagon until he defeated middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the second round of their UFC 243 main event title fight in front of a record breaking Aussie crowd, Adesanya has been putting on a show inside the Octagon. He’s worn the flags of two countries on his back and he’s never taken an easy fight.
Because the majority of his adult life has been spent inside the ring, cage or Octagon, Adesanya has devoted nearly every second of his life to training. He continues to push himself to the limit every day to maintain the greatness he has set up for himself.
In UFC FIGHT PASS’s newest series, Year of the Fighter, Adesanya breaks down the most meaningful year of his career. The middleweight champion reveals to the fans that while the feeling of holding the belt was everything he thought it would be, the preparation all paying off after so many years of grinding was a feeling of gratitude few could ever grasp.
Covering every bump in the road, emotionally and physically, in and outside the Octagon, Year of the Fighter promises to take you behind the scenes for the deepest dive yet inside the biggest year of Adesanya’s life.
Sign up for UFC FIGHT PASS today for all things Israel Adesanya and catch UFC FIGHT PASS’s newest original program, Year of the Fighter!