Israel Adesanya cut Paulo Costa, ground-and-pound him on the floor, then pretended to hump him after his knockout win
- The UFC's return to Fight Island, a new five-week residency on a quarantined section of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, got off to a spectacular start Saturday.
- Israel Adesanya dazzled in his UFC middleweight championship defense against Paulo Costa, beating the Brazilian inside two rounds.
- Costa struggled to pull the trigger on his shotgun-like attack, leaving him vulnerable to Adesanya's expert striking.
- Having bloodied Costa's head in the second, it was not long before Adesanya beat him to the floor, finished him for good, then pretended to hump him for good measure.
- You can watch it all below.
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Israel Adesanya cut Paulo Costa, ground-and-pound him on the floor, then pretended to hump him after his dominant knockout win Saturday.
The behind-closed-doors middleweight championship bout brought together two unbeaten athletes — the reigning title holder Adesanya, with his counterstrike video game skillset, and the challenger Costa, who fights with the explosiveness of a shotgun blast.
But upon the UFC's return to Fight Island, a quarantined area on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, Costa struggled to pull the trigger.
The 185-pound match was supposed to be a competitive one, perhaps the toughest test of Adesanya's career to date, but with Adesanya's bruising leg kicks, whipping strikes, and unrelenting accuracy, the 31-year-old breezed past the Brazilian and closed the show, in style, in the second round.
With expert distance-management, Adesanya, with the gap closed midway through the second, cracked Costa's head with a head kick which slashed his opponent, causing him to bleed all the way down his sternum.
This was the beginning of the end for Costa. With a counter left which helped Costa to the floor, Adesanya pummeled him on the mat with merciless ground-and-pound until the referee stepped in to wave the fight off.
It was all over. Adesanya took Costa's zero, thus preserving his own unbeaten status with a victory that will go down as a signature one for the Nigeria-born New Zealander.
Watch Adesanya's strike variety right here:
Watch the finish here:
And see the hump action below:
Adesanya finished the fight having landed 55 of his 84 strikes (65% accuracy) against Costa's 12 of 26 attempts (46%).
"I know this game … I don't just play this on EA Sports, I play this for real, so when I do this, I know what I'm talking about," said Adesanya after his win. "I still have to watch it again, little bit sloppy, but I'm a dog and I do what I do."
There was no love lost in the build-up to the middleweight title ruck, with the two fighters almost coming to blows at a weigh-in ceremony earlier in the week.
For Adesanya, the fight did little to resolve any animosity.
"I still don't like him," he said. "I don't know him personally, I don't wish he dies or anything, he's alive, I let him be alive.
"This is the game we play, this is violence and I told you guys that it was going to be violent and I said it, it's going to be violent and it's going to end fast and that's what I did.
"I'm fresh, I can go next weekend, I can go anytime. I want to spend time with my family because it's been a crazy year, so I want to go spend time with my people."
Adesanya only joined the UFC in 2018 but within a year, he had become the company's champion, and he now has victories over some of the biggest names in mixed martial arts including Anderson Silva, Kelvin Gastelum, Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero, and Costa.
But he's by no means done with the division and is targeting the American fighter Jared "Killa Gorilla" Cannonier.
"I want Cannonier next," Adesanya said.
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