UFC: Israel Adesanya set for title defence against Cuban wrestler Yoel Romero

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya
UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya Photo credit: Getty

Israel Adesanya will make his first defence of the undisputed UFC middleweight championship against Yoel Romero in March.

The five-round fight will headline UFC 248 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

"The Last Styebender" scored a second-round knockout over Australian Robert Whittaker in October to claim the title, improving his career record to 18-0.

Brazilian Paulo Costa appeared to be set for Adesanya's first defence, but the heavy-hitting striker is recovering from bicep surgery, leaving the Kiwi with no obvious opponent.

While Romero is highly-regarded, he is currently in the midst of the toughest run of his 17 fight career, dropping three of his last four fights, including twice to Whittaker.

Yoel Romero
Yoel Romero Photo credit: Getty

But the division is in holding with only one ranked contender holding a three-fight win streak - American Jared Cannonier.

Cannonier was scheduled to fight Whittaker on the same card, but "The Reaper" has pulled out of the bout citing personal reasons. 

Adesanya was desperate to fight Romero, with many pundits believing the Cuban wrestler is a style nightmare for the Nigerian-born UFC star. 

"No one asked to fight Yoel," Adesanya said. 

“I said I want to fight the baddest mother f***er in there. So we called him out even though he’s on a two-fight losing streak. He’s lost three of his last four.

"I’m a charitable guy and I think he’s a beast. Regardless of records. F**k records."

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