Recap: UFC 248 – Adesanya vs Romero


UFC 248, held in Las Vegas, NV gave us the hope of something special. With two title fights on the card, a former champion looking to reclaim their spot atop the division, an uncrowned peoples champion looking to finally fulfill their dream of UFC gold and two new champions looking to start what they hope will be the first of many title defenses.


The card was headlined with a middleweight showdown between Cuban superman Yoel Romero (13-5 11 KOS) and the Nigerian champion Israel Adesanya (19-0 14 KOs). Izzy is easily one of MMA’s most fluent strikers, with a background in kickboxing (75-5 29 KOs) and an ever-growing well-rounded game in MMA (second highest takedown defense in the division). Match that against one of the most accomplished wrestlers in the world (Romero won a silver medal at 2000 Olympics), Romero vs Adesanya looked to be one for the ages.

Could the younger striker outwit and maneuver the more powerful and explosive Romero? Would the old vet be able to find an opening and utilize his closing speed and ability to catch the champ and land a powerful right? Could the wrestler get the striker to the ground? We all were anxious to see how this would turn out.

Sometimes, the anticipation builds so much that the outcome will never live up to the hype. But when the fight turns out to produce minimal action, the feeling mirrors watching a food commercial, hoping your order looks like what was pictured only to realize that it’s just not reality. Are we to blame? Did we overlook what was right in front of us? Styles make fights, and when you pair two counter strikers against each other, the action may not come as we expected.


Go back to UFC 88 in 2008, Chuck Liddell vs Rashad Evans. This was a highly anticipated Light Heavyweight showdown, which produced one of the greatest KOs of all time (Evans KO’d Liddell in round 2).


Before that finish, the fight wasn’t very entertaining due to both fighters being counter strikers. Both were used to waiting on their opponent to push the match and then striking when they found an opening. Now with both waiting, it was like a newsflash when something did happen. Evans moved around, avoided Liddell, which made the Iceman, along with the fans in the arena, frustrated. This forced Chuck to move forward to press the action. Ultimately, this led to him getting caught, and KO’d and boosting Evans into the mainstream’s attention.

The same was true for this matchup except for neither fighter chose to give in and push the action. It didn’t lead to a famous KO, and as the final bell sounded, everyone was divided on what they saw. Romero didn’t let his hands go as much as he should’ve given he was the challenger. He landed a few right hands throughout the bout and had a couple of rushes that pushed the champ back into the cage.

Yoel decided to back off instead of taking advantage of the fact that while against the cage, Izzy’s movement is limited, which would allow for Yoel to utilize his strength over Izzy’s speed. Adesanya would stay on the outside, whipping leg kick after leg kick, which, as the fight went on, Romero had more and more trouble dealing with. Neither took any significant risks; neither put themselves in harmful positions, and at times, they spent more time fainting and staring at each other than engaging.

By the end, some fans felt due to Izzy “running away,” not engaging, and not landing any significant strikes on Yoel, that he lost the belt. Others felt that Yoel didn’t do enough to dethrone the champion and never opened up, which allowed Izzy to retain his title.


The judges gave Adesanya the unanimous decision (48-47, 48-47, 49-46).


Although this wasn’t the highlight affair with which Izzy has spoiled us in his other bouts, a win is a win. Against one of the most feared and toughest fighters on the roster, Adesanya came out with the ultimate goal of retaining his title. What’s next? Well, he has a challenging task ahead of him in bitter rival Paulo Casta (13-0 11 KOs), so at some point later this year, they’ll step in the cage. For Romero? Well, this was technically his third crack at the title from which he is now 0-3. Given his showing, if he ever wants another title shot, he may need to move up to LHW.

The co main-event gave us one of the all-time greatest fights and easily the greatest women’s title fight in UFC history.


Champion Zhang Weili (21-0 10 KOs) went to war with former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk (16-4 4 KOs) for five rounds. Both had their moments where it looked as if they could run away with it, but then the other would bounce back and show the heart of a champion. Weili’s strength and excellent timing would give her the edge in the striking department while volume and speed helped Joanna stay in the battle.

Both would take turns pushing the fight even though Jedrzejczyk would end up applying the most pressure overall. At the end of the third, Weili looked as if she might be gassed, given she never fought into championship rounds (4th and 5th rounds). Just as it looked as if the champ couldn’t keep going, she found her second wind and by the end of the bout looked as if she could go another two rounds if needed.

The fans showed their appreciation for both warriors’ showing by giving them a standing ovation as the final bell sounded. This wasn’t just “rock’em sock’em robot fighting,” either. This was two highly skilled fighters utilizing footwork, angles, movement, combinations, etc. showing their full skill set. Weili was awarded the split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47). That close of a decision shows just how razor-close this bout was.


Talks of a rematch are already happening and maybe this bout headlines its own PPV.


Either way, we were treated to something special by two great fighters. What’s next? Well, there’s the possible rematch, but if not, Weili can either see about taking on the winner between former champs Jessica Andrade (who Weili defeated for the title) vs Rose Namajunas (who defeated Joanna for the title) at UFC 249. Or she could face Tatiana Suarez, who has been tearing through the division at 8-0 with five straight wins in the UFC.

For Joanna, it’s a little more tricky. She has faced and defeated most of the top fighters in the division already. Maybe a bout against Angela Hill or Nina Ansaroff could be the way to go, but her options aren’t as open as the Champion’s choices are. Either way, she will be back in the cage at some point later in the year.

The co-main event gave us what we thought the main event would be. Sometimes that’s just how things turn out, but either way, we saw two champions walk away with their titles and on to the next chapter while the challengers are in flux and looking for what’s next in line for them.


Either way, UFC 248 is In the books, it gave us one of the greatest title fights of all time while also giving us maybe one of the worst? Either way, questions were answered and now we await to see what’s next.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

Las Vegas! If you want another great place to watch UFC matches, head to Al’s Garage in Summerlin. There are multiple televisions to watch all the games and fights. Al’s has “Happy Hour” starting at 9 AM and ending at 9 PM. Al’s Garage is located at 11760 W. Charleston Boulevard, Las Vegas, Nevada 89135. Tell them, “The Franchise sent you!!”


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