UFC 248: Israel Adesanya inspired by teammates' success at UFC Auckland

UFC star Israel Adesanya's using the recent success of his City Kickboxing teammates as inspiration for his middleweight title defence next Sunday (NZT).

Adesanya will fight Cuban Yoel Romero in Las Vegas at UFC 248 in his first bout since he unified the title with his knockout win over Robert Whittaker in Melbourne last year.

On Sunday, 'The Last Stylebender' was in the front row during the UFC's return to Spark Arena in vocal support of Dan Hooker, Brad Riddell, and Kai Kara-France, who all had their hands raised on a landmark day for MMA in New Zealand.

"I'm excited after last weekend because we did it," said Adesanya. "Like I said, repeat the 'threepeat'."

Adesanya is referring to the trio of wins for the gym at UFC 243, which they replicated in Auckland.

"You know in the race when you can see the finish line, and you don't want to trip over so you're just focussed on one task? I'm just focussed on the finish line right now."

While he admits Romero - a 43-year-old Olympic silver medallist - is his toughest test to date, he insists their approach has been the same as it has for every opponent through his current seven-fight win streak.

"It's the same thing. We work on certain situations that we know he's good at and certain ones he's shit at, in both wrestling and striking.

"Every fight is the biggest fight. So we've kept the same energy right from the get-go."

The recently crowned Halberg Sportsman of the Year is confident he has the edge over Romero wherever the fight may go, and he's rested and raring to go for the full five rounds if need be.

"If he wants to do what Kelvin Gastelum did and rush me or wants to play safe and keep a distance, feel free," he noted.

"But I know for a fact that whatever he's ding, I've got way more in the tank than him. You can have a bet who gets tired first? I'll bet you my whole purse.

"Expect the unexpected. I'm feeling sharp, I'm on point. I know these are the things you expect me to say, but I feel f**king great."

Join us for live updates of Adesanya v Romero Sunday March 8 from 4pm