Nigerian middleweight Israel Adesanya (15-0) continued his ascent to stardom with a first-round TKO over Derek Brunson (18-7) in the first fight of the UFC 230 main card Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Adesanya negated Brunson’s early attempts to get him to the floor before landing a hard knee to the chin in a scramble. Brunson backed off and tried to regain his wits, but Adesanya smelled blood. He followed up with more knees, dropped him with a right hand and eventually finished him with punches against the fence.
The finish came at the 4:51 mark of the opening round.
“They say I ain’t got no wrestling. This was like a walk in the pond,” Adesanya said. “No, this was like a walk in the garden. Madison, baby.”
Adesanya, who trains out of New Zealand, has set the UFC’s middleweight division on fire in 2018. Saturday’s victory was his fourth victory this year. He’s defeated Rob Wilkinson, Marvin Vettori, Brad Tavares and Brunson.
Roberson dominates Marshman in bloody decision
All three judges scored it a one-sided beating for Roberson: 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27. Roberson landed heavy left hands throughout the 185-pound contest, badly bloodying Marshman’s nose in the process. Marshman proved to be extremely durable, but he never posed a threat to the 28-year-old Roberson.
A former professional kickboxer, Roberson showcased his wrestling as well. He took Marshman down in the second and third rounds, and worked out of side control.
The only downside for Roberson was it appeared he suffered a leg injury in the second round. Roberson limped occasionally, but it did not affect his performance. He bounces back from a submission loss to Cezar Ferreira at UFC 224 in May.