The Last Stylebender is Set to Take on Kelvin Gastelum for the Interim Middleweight Title This Weekend… Israel Adesanya Showed That He’s Well Able to Hang With the Big Boys in This Archive Sparring Footage Against the Fearsome Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson…
Until Francis Ngannou came on the scene, Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson was the most feared knockout artist on the entire UFC roster. Like Ngannou, ‘Rumble’ was very one-dimensional in his style, which is why he came up short against Daniel Cormier twice. But if he catches you right, you’re getting sent to the shadow realm.
Power isn’t everything though. Israel Adesanya is one of the UFC’s golden prospects right now. He’s on the cusp of superstardom, with the chance to win an interim title against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in Atlanta. The Nigerian-born New Zealander is regarded as one of the slickest strikers in MMA and is coming off the back of a great win over the legendary Anderson Silva.
Watch as Adesanya touches up ‘Rumble’ in archive footage from the Blackzillian’s gym.
before UFC 187, @bokamotoESPN and I flew to Blackzilians for a story on Rumble Johnson. at the time, he was prepping to fight Jon Jones
Henri Hooft flew out this kid (3-0 MMA) from New Zealand to mimick Jon in sparring sessions
— Phil Murphy (@Phil_Sports) April 11, 2019
Adesanya has been very critical of the striking of US MMA fighters in the past. He’s been known to describe their skills as ‘average,’ with some exceptions. The video above comes from 2015 when Adesanya was drafted into Johnson’s camp to help him prepare to fight Jon Jones.
While that fight ultimately never took place because Jones was involved in a hit-and-run incident with a pregnant woman, we did get some great footage out of it. Adesanya has Johnson under all sorts of pressure in this video, backing him up and picking at him at will. Sure, Johnson could probably decapitate him if he caught him with a clean strike, but it just shows that power isn’t everything, especially against a highly-skilled and dynamic striker.
Israel Adesanya flaunted his speed today in Atlanta ahead of UFC 236
— TheMacLife (@Maclifeofficial) April 11, 2019
The UFC clearly sees Adesanya as having massive star potential. Young, good-looking, exciting and good at self-promotion on social media, he ticks all the boxes for what they want from their stars in the post-McGregor era. First of all, Adesanya has to get past the very dangerous and underrated Kelvin Gastelum.
While the former kickboxing champion has a very significant height and reach advantage over the former welterweight, Gastelum possesses great power and is capable of knocking out everybody on his day. He also has a chip on his shoulder after travelling all the way to Australia for a title fight that would ultimately get cancelled at the very last minute.
It will come as no surprise that Adesanya is confident going into this one. He wisely has respect for Gastelum though, telling MMA Fighting:
“Kelvin’s not scared, he’s dangerous, and that’s what excites me about him. I get to take out a — Mexicans are known for their warrior spirit. He’s got a Mexican style of MMA. So I’m looking to put him on a stake as well.”
This should be a great fight. In the main event, 145lb king Max Holloway will take the first step towards becoming a full two-division champion by taking on Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title.