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Adesanya beats Romero at UFC 248 but crowd are left wanting more

During an often bizarre contest, boos rang out across the arena as the two fighters kept contact to a minimum.

Yoel Romero is kicked by Israel Adesanya during the second round of their UFC 248 fight.
Yoel Romero is kicked by Israel Adesanya during the second round of their UFC 248 fight.
Image: L.E. Baskow

ISRAEL ADESANYA BEAT Yoel Romero by unanimous decision to retain the middleweight championship at UFC 248 in Las Vegas.

Adesanya came out on top 49-46, 48-47, 48-47 at the T-Mobile Arena following a tactical affair which failed to capture the crowd’s imagination.

Mid-way through the fight, boos rang out across the arena as the two fighters kept contact to a minimum. 

The start of the first round saw Adesanya standing in the middle of the Octagon for 90 seconds while Romero stayed a safe distance back with his hands covering his face, appearing to invite his opponent on. 

The two fighters were more willing to engage in the second round, with Romero delivering a strong overhand left before returning to his stand-off approach.

Adesanya began to target Romero’s right leg, leaving him with large swelling, but the crowd’s frustration grew and by the fifth round the boos became clearly audible.

“It was a hard fight but, cliché, I did what I had to do,” Adesanya told ESPN.

“I fucked his leg up. I did what I had to do. I picked him apart. I did what I had to do to win that fight.”

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With some fans leaving early, the two continued to fight from distance and play it safe before things picked up in the final round. Romero landed two left hands and Adesanya attempted a cartwheel kick before the horn sounded on a forgettable contest. 

“He’s (Adesanya) running and running and running,” Romero told ESPN. “Like the people in Rome, like the gladiators. That’s what the people want to see here.

“People bought the pay-per-view to see a real fight — not this. You need to have respect for people. People paid for a pay-per-view, for what? For a fight.”

At 19-0, Adesanya is expected to now face No. 2-ranked Paulo Costa.

Romero’s record now reads 13-5. with the Cuban having lost lost four of his last five fights. 

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