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Isreal Adesanya: The Last StyleBender

Isreal Adesanya was born on the 22 of July 1989 in Lagos. At a young age, he took interest in sports. To develop his talent, his mother enrolled him in a taekwondo class but after he broke his arm, she put an end to the training.

Adesanya was 13 when he moved to Rotorua, New Zealand.

Between the ages of 17 and 18, Adesanya watched a film “Ong Bak: Muay Thai Warrior” starring Tony Jaa who was hailed as a martial arts star.


“Ong Bak” rekindled his interest in sports and at 18, he trained in kickboxing. Soon after this, he broke a record in amateur kickboxing with a 32-0 in all matches.

With this success, he continued to train and at 21, Adesanya moved to Auckland, New Zealand to train at City Kickboxing. At City Kickboxing, he had the opportunity to train with established martial arts fighters such as Dan Hooker (Daniel Preston Hooker).

Adesanya made his professional debut in 2012 at 23. Given his successful training, he fought at Hong Kong, Australia and China over the next five-and-a-half years and amassed a record of 11-0 in all matches.

In December 2017, Adesanya signed with the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). At his debut, he won against Rob Wilkinson via TKO in the second round, thereby earning him Performance of the Night bonus. Since then, he has gone on to win almost all his fights earning him the name, “The Last Stylebender.”

During the UTC Finale in 2018, Adesanya won the hearts of many Nigerians when he spoke Yoruba. Since then, his interview sessions has never failed to excite Nigerians including his Shaku Shaku dance moves on stage. Adesanya has a kickboxing record of 75 wins out of 81 matches.

On April 14, 2019 he became the second African to win the UFC Interim Middleweight title, making him the second after fellow Nigerian and UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman won the title in 2018.

**This article was originally written on Feb 18, 2019.

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