Israel Adesanya defeated Kelvin Gastelum via unanimous decision in the co-main event of UFC 236 in Atlanta on Saturday night.
Adesanya’s thrilling victory earned him the interim middleweight title.
The epic bout went the distance as the two fighters traded blows for all five rounds in what was a highly competitive fight.
Gastelum applied pressure early and knocked down his counterpart in the first round, but momentum shifted in the second when Adesanya dropped his opponent with a big right hand.
After a close third round during which both fighters exchanged significant strikes, Gastelum caught the 29-year-old in the fourth with a head kick that wobbled Adesanya, but he was unable to finish the fight.
In the fifth and final round, Adesanya dropped the 27-year-old numerous times before the bell rung.
All three judges scored the bout 48-46.
The interim middleweight title fight was set up while champion Robert Whittaker recovers from a hernia and collapsed bowel.
Whittaker took to Twitter after the fight to tease a matchup with Adesanya.
Whittaker is hoping to make his return to the Octagon by August.
Adesanya improves his professional MMA record to 17-0 and is 6-0 since joining the UFC, while Gastelum’s record dropped to 15-4 with one no-contest.
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