UFC 243: Israel Adesanya's win NZ's 'biggest combat sport moment', says coach Mike Angove

One of Israel Adesanya's coaches feels the Kiwi's triumph over Robert Whittaker for the UFC middleweight world title is New Zealand's greatest combat sporting moment.

On Sunday, 'The Last Stylebender' stunned the sporting universe, when he dropped Whittaker to the canvas in the second round of their main-event clash at UFC 243 in Melbourne to unify the middleweight world title.

The victory capped off a stunning rise through the ranks for the Nigerian-born Kiwi, who has gone from promotional newcomer to world champion in less than two years, a 6-0 record in the UFC and 18-0 overall in his professional career.

The bout also took place in front of 57,127 wild fans at Marvel Stadium. 

Coach Mike Angove told The AM Show that the win was significant for combat sport in this country.

"There was lots of celebrating last night," he said. "It's a wonderful achievement by Israel. 

"You can say [it's] probably the single biggest moment in our combat sport's history in terms of winning at the pinnacle of the game.

"For Israel to come in, drop Whittaker twice - considering Israel isn't considered to have knockout punching power - is something special.

"You saw the emotion immediately after. You saw testers from the coaching team and Israel too."  

Adesanya is expected to have some time off, before defending the belt early next year in Auckland or Las Vegas. 

After beating Whittaker, Adesanya called out Paulo Costa, who he called a "Ricky Martin wannabe". 

"Both Israel and Paulo have publicly spoken out against each other," Angove added. "He was ringside yesterday and security prevented him from coming into the cage. 

"[UFC boss Dana White] was talking about the possibility of Israel defending his title in New Zealand.

"Israel moved into Conor McGregor territory - a guy who has become the new face of the UFC, so he will have negotiating power - but it will depend on how the numbers stack up." 


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