Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya Beats Kelvin Gastelum to Win Interim UFC Middleweight Championship Belt
Israel Adesanya is the UFC’s new interim middleweight champion after a violent unanimous decision win over American Kelvin Gastelum in Atlanta.
The 29-year-old Nigerian was on the brink of stopping Gastelum in the final seconds of the fight in the co-main event of UFC 236 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.
According to Bleacher Report, “The interim belt is a step, but it only guarantees that he’ll be the next in line to welcome Robert Whittaker back to the Octagon.”
The battle saw both fighters pocket an extra US$50,000 bonus, taking out fight of the night honours alongside the main event in which Dustin Poirier beat Max Holloway to win the interim lightweight title.
At the end of the five rounds, all three judges scored the fight – that was closer than many expected – 48-46 in favour of Adesanya. Both fighters finished the bout with blood smeared faces.