UFC 236 Live from the State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA brought us some great fights including a great Main Event between featherweight champ Max "Blessed" Holloway and the new UFC Interim Lightweight champ, Dustin "The Diamond" Poirier.
On any other night it would have stood out as a memorable showdown between two elite fighters but, this was not any other night. The UFC 236 Main card was Co-headlined by an Epic back and forth clash between Middleweight contenders between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel "The Last Stylebender" Adesanya for the Interim 185lb strap and determine the next fighter to unify the belt with the Aussy champ, Robert Whittaker later this year.
To say this was one of the UFC's best title fight's ever would be an understatement. The heart, skill and discipline displayed by both fighters is a great example of what it means to give it your all and leave a part of yourself in that cage once it's all said and done. Gastelum, with his quick and heavy hands landed some great shots and even a head kick in the later rounds.
The Mexican-American started off strong quickly dropping Adesanya with a leaping right hook in the first round and threatening him with forward pressure and smooth boxing.
Adesanya however came back strong in the second dropping Gastelum with a big overhand right but not able to inflict enough damage on the ground and allowing Kelvin to recover and get back to his feet. The fight pretty much continued like this for the next 2 rounds just an all out back and forth. Both men showed high level striking throughout the fight with slipping, head movement, angles, and switching stances but the main takeaway was the resilience and heart displayed by both fighters who were determined to do whatever it took to get their hand raised.
It seemed like Gastelum was about to put the fight to an end at the end of the fourth round when he landed that left high kick which rocked Adesanya for bit an had him in recovery mode but he was able to weather the storm and survive the round. Both men proved they were capable of lasting through the championship rounds and many would say the fight was even 2-2 up into the fifth and final round.
The tides turned towards Adesanya's
favor toward the middle of the fifth when Gastelum shot for a single leg and was countered with a standing guillotine attempt by Stylebender which led to a crazy scramble on the ground leaving Israel on his back throwing up a triangle ending up in a sweep on top and eventually resetting both fighters to their feet.
Toward the end of the round it was Adesanya landing the cleaner shots and combinations dropping Gastelum 3 times toward the end of the round even landing some elbows. But Gastelum showed Heart and toughness staying in the fight not allowing himself to be stopped fighting until the very last second. Style bender who gets his moniker from the anime series "Avatar the last Airbender" eventually won the 5 round battle by unanimous decision after a grueling and skillful back and forth with Gastelum. To say that this was a "Fight of the Year" candidate would be an understatement. This is why we enjoy this sport so much, because of epic and memorable fights like this one.
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