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TUF 27 Finale results: Israel Adesanya scores impressive win over Brad Tavares

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Israel Adesanya remains undefeated with TUF 27 Finale win.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

There were those who wondered whether Israel Adesanya was getting too big of a push too fast.

The decorated kickboxer from New Zealand was flashy but still somewhat untested as a mixed martial artist. So when he got a main event at The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale against a top-10 middleweight in Brad Tavares, it seemed like it may have been a bit too much, too soon.

But “The Last Stylebender” answered all the doubters at the Pearl Theatre in Las Vegas on Friday night, as he ruthlessly picked apart the super tough Tavares for the better part of 25 minutes.

The judges’ scores were 49-46 and a pair of 50-45s, as Adesanya improved to 14-0 and 3-0 in the UFC.

“All the pundits, and all the experts said ‘too soon, he’s only had two fights in the UFC,’” Adesanya said. “He’s a tough dude. These islanders, they have tough heads.”

Adesanya has already developed a reputation for taking his time and sizing up his opponent before unleashing his weapons, and Friday night’s fight was no different. Adesanya bobbed and weaved and struck from all angles as he figured out his range.

Tavares, for his part, was able to keep Adesanya honest, particularly in the second round, when he popped his oppnent with solid overhand counters. Still, Adesanya dropped Tavares with a liver kick as he started taking control.

Adesanya has proven himself a smart competitor, conserving his energy and waiting for the right time to strike. On this night, that proved to be the third round, as Adesanya peppered Tavares with head kicks and brutal knees that would have broken a lesser competitor.

In the fourth, Adesanya threw a wicked right elbow which slashed across and landed over Tavares’ right eye, opening a gnarly cut. A timeout was called and the doctor checked the cut before clearing him to continue.

It was academic from there. Tavares shot for takedowns in the fifth, but was only 1-for-10 on the evening, and it was simply a matter of riding out the clock for the victor.

“My first main event,” Adesanya said. “I’m just getting warmed up. Give me some time.”

Tavares dropped to 17-5, as the Hawaiian had a four-fight win streak snapped.