Just 14 months after making his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya has become a middleweight champion after defeating American, Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236 in Atlanta.
Adesanya, who is unbeaten in 17 professional fights, defeated Gastelum via unanimous decision to claim the UFC’s interim 185-pound championship on Sunday morning, making him the second African to achieve the feat following Kamaru Uman’s victory at UFC 235 last month.
All three judges scored the five-round bout for Adesanya, including 10-8 marks in the decisive fifth round.
According to UFC Stats, Adesanya out-landed Gastelum in total strikes 135-68.
He also stuffed eight of Gastelum’s nine takedown attempts.
The result sets up a title unification bout between Adesanya, who was born in Nigeria but lives and trains in New Zealand, and Australian champion, Robert Whittaker.
Whittaker was forced to withdraw from a title defence earlier this year because of a hernia but is expected to return in either late summer or early fall.