The war between Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya for the interim 185lb belt at UFC 236 won’t be forgotten anytime soon, as both fighters put on a thrilling show that prompted Dana White to describe the bout as “one of the best fights I’ve ever seen.” And the boss isn’t exaggerating.
Both middleweights had their moments in the first four rounds of the fight, with Gastelum dropping “The Last Stylebender” in the first round and Adesanya upping his offensive output in the second and third rounds. In the final minute of the fourth round Gastelum landed a head kick that badly hurt Adesanya, but the New Zealander was able survive and take the fight to the final frame.
With the momentum on Gastelum’s side, he continued executing his gameplan of constant pressure and closing the gap on the lengthy Adesanya. But Adesanya would fire back, stunning Gastelum with a big right that sent him to the canvas. Adesanya pounced, nearly locking up a guillotine and triangle choke before Gastelum made it back to his feet. With a little over a minute left, Adesanya dropped Gastelum for just a moment, and when he got up, Adesanya sent him right back down to the floor with a right hand. Dripping blood and exhausted, Gastelum refused to give in, but Adesanya would not be denied, sending Gastelum to the floor once more before the final horn sounded. What a rise to the top of the fight game for Adesanya and what a display of heart in that fifth round from Gastelum.
Without question this fight deserves to be in the “Top 10” fights of all-time conversation.