Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya defeated Cuban Yoel Romero in his first title defence at UFC 248 at the T. Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday morning.
The undisputed middleweight champion won via a unanimous decision – 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 – in a fight that turned out to be more tepid and underwhelming than expected, with both fighters landing 88 combined significant strikes.
The judges’ decision was booed by the crowd who felt the Cuban should not have lost.
‘Soldier of God’ Romero, like the fans, said he was robbed of “my victory,” claiming that Adesanya only came to run around the Octagon like Usain Bolt.
But the champion said he did just enough to win the fight.
“I did what I had to do and picked him apart,” Adesanya said. “The legs don’t lie. I fed his leg up,” Adesanya said just after the fight. “As long as [the judges] didn’t listen to the crowd, I was fine.”
The victory made Adesanya the fastest fighter to go 8-0 in the UFC (755 days), bettering the record set by Anderson Silva who reached that milestone in 850 days.
He is also the fourth middleweight fighter in history to have started his UFC career with 8-0, joining the class of Romero, whom he defeated on Sunday, Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman.
Adesanya made a disclosed guarantee of $500,000 for the fight, while Romero made at least $300,000, according to purses obtained from the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).