When Israel Adesanya first inked a deal with the UFC in late 2017, he did so accompanied by plenty of hype. And for good reason.
“The Last Stylebender” was a decorated striker with at least 75 documented kickboxing wins. Not just that, but all 11 of his appearances on the MMA regional scene had ended in brutal knockouts. It was clear he was ready for the octagon.
But few could’ve anticipated just how ready he really was.
Adesanya’s UFC debut finally arrived a few months later at UFC 211 when he was assigned an undercard matchup against another top middleweight prospect from the Oceania region.
In retrospect, it’s fair to say poor Rob Wilkinson didn’t truly realize what he was getting into.
Ahead of Adesanya’s upcoming title rematch against Robert Whittaker, which is slated to take place at Houston’s Toyota Center on Feb. 12 at UFC 271, relive the majesty of the reigning middleweight champion’s jaw-dropping UFC debut above.