Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero had to follow quite argubaly the greatest women’s fight in MMA history — strawweight champion Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk — at UFC 248.
What fans saw in that main event can best be described as bizarre. Adesanya won a tactical affair by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47) to retain the middleweight championship at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. DAZN News scored it 48-47 for Adesanya. But the bout ranged from boos in the middle of the first round to fans turning on their cell phone flashlights in boredom.
“It was a hard fight but cliché I did what I had to do,” Adesanya said in his postfight interview. “I f—ed his leg up. I did what I had to do. I picked him apart. I did what I had to do to win that fight.”
The fight started with Adesanya standing in the middle of the octagon while Romero stood for around 90 seconds with his hands up covering his face and doing nothing else. Then, Romero proceeded to do the “Ali Shuffle,” to the amazement of the crowd. A total of seven punches were thrown (four by Romeo, three by Adesanya) with Romero landing the harder shots, including a hard left hook.
Things picked up slightly in the second when Adesanya came out with a front kick and was going for a right hand, but Romero stunned him with an overhand left. Romero was lulling Adesanya to sleep by implementing his style of not doing much of anything and then firing off a couple of shots.
Adesanya finally figured out the best strategy in the third round: Attack Romero’s right leg, to the point the leg had swelled up like a giant softball by the end of the fight. The crowd didn’t like it, but it proved to be effective.
The fifth round started with a chorus of boos, but that didn’t matter to Adesanya or Romero. Adesanya continued to attack the lead leg and then throw hard body kicks, while Romero ate them and just continued to bob and weave like he was winning without a care in the world. People in the crowd had seen enough by then; viewers of the pay-per-view telecast could see them leaving the arena halfway through the round.
With about 20 seconds remaining, Romero connected on two left hands followed by an Adesanya cartwheel kick attempt. When the final horn sounded, Adesanya and Romero got in each other’s faces for the most action of the main event.
With Romero now out of the way, Adesanya (19-0) can look forward to what is expeced to be an all-action contest against No. 2-ranked Paulo Costa.
“This guy’s going to actually come forward and try to f— with me,” Adesanya said of Costa. “I’m going to f— this motherf—er up. I’ll see you soon, boy.”
Romero (13-5) has now lost four of his last five and is 0-3 in official title fights. He put the blame on Adesanya even though he was the one who failed to do much in the remaining 15 minutes.
“He’s running and running and running,” Romero said. “Like the people in Rome, like the gladiators. That’s what the people want to see here.
“People bought the pay-per-view to see a real fight — not this. You need to have respect for people. People paid for a pay-per-view, for what? For a fight.”
Here is what happened at UFC 248:
Adesanya vs. Romero: UFC 248 results, updates
(All times Eastern)
Round 5: Had Yoel Romero fought the final 60 seconds of the fifth round, he could’ve won the fight. Instead, Adesanya continued to pound the legs that wobbled Romero on more than one occasion. Both were in each other’s faces right after the horn sounded. That was more action than what we saw for 25 minutes. A horrible fight. Should be for Adesanya nonetheless. (10-9, Adesanya; 48-47, Adesanya)
Round 4: Adesanya is lighting up Romero’s legs like no other. The leg kicks are coming in hard and vicious and Romero is eating them up. I like what Romero did at the end of the round. He connected on a right hand and showed more aggression. He does that in the last five minutes, there will be a new champion. (10-9, Adesanya; 38-38)
Round 3: If you’re a fan of tactical fights, then this is for you. Adesanya’s plan of attack is to stay on the outside and throw body kicks. Not the most fan-friendly style but a smart style nonetheless. (10-9, Adesanya; 29-28, Romero)
Round 2: A little more action by Adesanya and Romero, but Romero is taking Adesanya out of his comfort zone. The way to beat Romero is constant pressure; Adesanya is letting him pick his spots, and it’s working for Romero. (10-9, Romero; 20-18, Romero)
Round 1: By far one of the most bizarre rounds in a championship fight in UFC history. Romero covered up, did the Ali shuffle but still won the round with a hard overhand right and a jumping wheel kick. Adesanya showed way too much respect to Romero. Needs to amp it up and in a hurry. (10-9, Romero)
12:54 a.m.: It is now time for the main event of UFC 248 as Israel Adesanya defends the middleweight title against Yoel Romero. The talking between the two is done. Adesanya (18-0) wanted Romero and now he has him. Can Romero (13-4) quiet those who say he doesn’t deserve this opportunity? We are about to find out.
Zhang Weili beats Joanna Jedrzejczyk to retain title in a fight for the ages
12:45 a.m.: Zhang def. Jedrzejczyk by split decision (47-48, 48-47, 48-47) to remain the women’s strawweight championship.
Without a doubt, Zhang and Jedrzejczyk put on the greatest fight in women’s MMA history. For 25 minutes, they left their blood, sweat and tears inside the octagon and put on a battle for the ages. They slung the heavy leather without either taking a back seat. It came down to Zhang landing the heavier shots and, in the minds of the judges, turning it on when it mattered most in the fifth round by letting it all hang out, rocking Jedrzejczyk on two occasions and remaining active for the entire five minutes.
It was a fight that could have truly gone either way. Let’s hope it’s a fight that happens again sooner rather than later.
Round 5: Holy cow! That’s all you can say. What heart and guts both women showed. They put it all on the line, with Zhang landing more effective shots in the final five minutes. It comes down to the judges now, and it could go either way. (10-9, Zhang; 49-46, Zhang)
Round 4: Jedrzejczyk had control in the early part of the round but Zhang turned it on in the final half by landing the harder shots. It all comes down to the final round. (10-9, Zhang; 39-37, Zhang)
Round 3: What an exciting round. Jedrzejczyk’s striking tightened up and she started firing first instead of last. Zhang was firing off hard punches of her own but the former champion did a bit more. Jedrzejczyk has a giant hematoma on her forehead and Zhang is gushing blood from her nose. What a fight! (10-9, Jedzejczyk; 29-28, Zhang)
Round 2: Zhang’s punches are coming in so quick that’s she’s lighting up Jedrzejczyk. But that nearly changed in the final moments when Jedrzejczyk stunned Zhang with a sneaky left high kick. She accidentally head-butted Zhang and then followed with a hard knee to the body. Zhang had to be carried to her corner as she looked out on her feet when the horn sounded. (10-9, Zhang; 20-18, Zhang)
Round 1: Zhang and Jedrzejczyk brought it from the jump. They mainly fought in the center of the octagon and slung the heavy leather. Each woman had her moments but Zhang landed the harder shots, which had more of an effect on Jedrzejczyk. (10-9, Zhang)
Midnight: It’s time for the co-main event of UFC 248, as Zhang Weili defends the women’s strawweight championship against No. 4-ranked Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Zhang (20-1) rides a 20-fight winning streak, highlighted by a 42-second drubbing of Jessica Andrade at the end of August to win the gold. Jedrzejczyk (16-3) is a former 115-pound champion but comes in 2-3 in her last five.
A loss would most certainly put Jedrzejczyk out of title contention for years to come. A win for Zhang would legitimize her title reign.
Beneil Dariush stops Drakkar Klose in knockout of the year candidate
11:47 p.m.: Dariush def. Klose by knockout at 1:00 of the second round.
After nearly finishing Klose with a standing rear-naked choke at the end of the first, Dariush made sure he finished the job in the second.
It almost didn’t go that way when Klose rocked Dariush with two giant right hands. Undeterred, Dairush tagged Klose with two sharp left uppercuts to put him on wobbly legs. He closed the show by rearing back and blasting Klose with a scintillating overhand left to knock Klose out on his feet for one of the most devastating KOs of the year.
11:34 p.m.: Right now at UFC 248, Beneil Dariush faces Drakkar Klose in lightweight action. Dariush (17-4-1) is on a good run as of late, having won three consecutive bouts, including the last two via submission. Klose (11-1-1) is 5-1 in the UFC, having won three straight bouts of his own. Something has to give. Should be a ton of fun to watch with both guys at the top of their games.
11:30 p.m.: The epic fight between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 is the first inductee into the 2020 class of the UFC Hall of Fame. One of the greatest fights of all time that Jones escaped with a decision win. It was the first stern test of Jones’ historic career. A fight that definitely deserves to be there.
Neil Magny shines in dominant performance over Li Jingliang
11:20 p.m.: Magny def. Li by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Couldn’t ask for a better showing by Magny after being gone for 16 months. He fought spectacular off the jab by keeping Li at the end of it. Doing that allowed Magny to mix up his strikes, engage in the clinch, throw knees and take Li down at will.
You have to be impressed with Magny’s cardio for being off so long. One shouldn’t be able to have a non-stop pace for 15 minutes without showing any signs of exhaustion. That’s a testament to Magny’s work ethic as he put in the work while on the shelf to earn the 15th win of his UFC career.
10:55 p.m.: Up next at UFC 248, Neil Magny faces Li Jingliang in welterweight action. Magny returns after a one-year layoff because of failing a drug test that wound up being due to a tainted supplement. Before then, he had been inconsistent — 2-2 in his last four bouts. Li is on a tear, having won three consecutive fights and seven of his last eight. Like women’s strawweight champion Zhang Weili, Li had to leave his native China earlier because of the coronavirus outbreak. How does he handle it? It could be a sign of things to come in the co-main event.
Alex Oliveira beats Max Griffin in an exciting main card opener
10:45 p.m.: Oliveira def. Griffin by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Oliveira had the fight well in control going into the third round. He landed the harder, crisper shots with Griffin not too far behind. For some reason, Oliveira decided to take Griffin down and try to win by submission. However, Griffin, who was gushing blood, had other plans in mind. He reversed position and busted the Brazilian up on the ground for the last three minutes of the fight. But it was too little, too late.
A great win for Oliveira who needed the victory as he’s expecting his 11th child in the near future.
10:17 p.m.: Israel Adesanya arrives to UFC 248 in style.
10:12 p.m.: The main card of UFC 248 begins with Alex Oliveira taking on Max Griffin in welterweight action. Oliveira (19-8-1, two no-contests) is in dire need of a win, losing three consecutive fights. Griffin (15-7) also needs a win in the worst way, having suffered defeats in three of four. It’s a loser-leaves-the-UFC type of fight so expect Oliveira and Griffin leaving it all inside the octagon.
9:45 p.m.: Sean O’Malley def. Jose Quinonez by TKO at 2:02 of the first round.
O’Malley didn’t waste anytime controlling the octagon, being the aggressor and not letting Quinonez get into a rhythm. A right hook signaled the beginning of the end for Quinonez as O’Malley connected on a counter right hook, immediately followed by a head kick to send Quninonez to a knee. O’Malley proceeded to hit an uppercut to send Quinonez to the mat. A couple of hammerfists and it was all over.
A flawless performance by “Suga Sean” to remain undefeated in 11 fights. Hopefully, the UFC continues to slowly bring him up the ladder with a step-up in competition each time out. If he passes those tests, within 12 months, O’Malley should in top contender fights.
9:37 p.m.: The featured preliminary bout of UFC 248 has Sean O’Malley taking on Jose Quinonez in bantamweight action. O’Malley (10-0) returns after a two-year layoff due to a drug test failure from a contanimated supplement. Quinonez (9-3) comes in having won five of his last six.
A very good test for O’Malley, who has been deemed a top-flight prospect coming out of the Dana White Contender Series. How will the layoff affect him?
9:32 p.m.: Welcome to DAZN News’ live coverage of UFC 248, headlined by the middleweight title fight between champion Israel Adesanya and No. 3-ranked Yoel Romero. Grab the refreshments and stay locked in to what is expected to be an exciting night of action.
UFC 248 undercard results
- Mark Madsen def. Austin Hubbard via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28); lightweights.
- Rodolfo Vieira def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:58 of the first round; middleweights.
- Gerald Meerschaert def. Deron Winn by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:13 of the third round; middleweights.
- Giga Chikadze def. Jamall Emmers via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28); featherweights.
- Danaa Batgerel def. Guido Cannetti by knockout at 3:01 of the first round; bantamweights.