Last night in Las Vegas Nevada was supposed to be the night that Israel Adesanya and Yoel Romero clashed for the UFC middleweight championship of the world. Some dubbed it as the true coming-out party for the champion Adesanya in his 1st defense of his middleweight world championship against the perceived scariest man in the division in Romero that nobody wanted to fight. Seemingly after watching it, it seemed as neither guy wanted to fight at all.
Regardless of the outcome, or who you felt was going to win or who you wanted to win, this fight will go down in the history of the UFC as one of the most boring championship fights to ever take place in the octagon.
When a fight like this takes place, everybody wants to blame one fighter or the other for the terrible show. You can’t blame one if you’re not going to blame the other.
Both fighters were unwilling to truly engage one another. When the bell rang to start the fight Romero stood in the center of the octagon almost completely motionless like a statue, and it seemed as if Adesanya was completely perplexed by his opponent’s movement or lack thereof.
25 minutes of time in the octagon between 2 gentlemen that seemed as if they didn’t know what to do because nobody was coming at them. This is what happens when two counter punchers face off.
Romero landed the more significant and powerful strikes, and when he did decide to throw, he was headhunting and looking for a knockout. Adesanya however, landed more strikes overall. He damaged Romero’s leg, but other than that did nothing.
In my opinion, neither fighter deserved a win last night. I scored the bout 48-47 for Romero based strictly on the fact that he was trying to knock his opponent out when he threw strikes which was not very much at all. I also knew once the fight was over that the champion was going to retain his belt because neither fighter honestly did enough to put a stamp on a victory, and an incumbent champion will always get the nod in a fight like we saw last night.
I blame both fighters for not fighting last night. You can’t put the onus on one because it takes 2 to make a fight. UFC president Dana White doesn’t see it the way I do. He has put the blame solely on Romero while at the same time seemingly exonerating Adesanya.
“I do think it was Romero’s fault, He literally went out and stood in the middle of the octagon when the bell rang in the first round, just stood there with his hands up. You know what I mean? You’re going in and facing the world champion. This is your last shot at a championship. You shouldn’t even be here getting this title fight. It should be Paulo Costa. If he didn’t get hurt, you don’t even get this opportunity. You go in, and you do everything you can to win that fight. He literally did none of that.”
“I believe Israel Adesanya fights to the level of his opponent, the Anderson Silva fight was similar to that. Then you think about the Gastelum fight. It was a war. Gastelum goes after him and tries to take his head off. Whittaker is going after him trying to take his head off. That fight was great. You better believe Paulo Costa is going to go after him. That fight should be ridiculous.”
I found White’s criticism of Romero and his giving a pass to Adesanya unjust, especially after recalling White’s criticism of Tyron Woodley the former welterweight champion who basically had the same kind of performance against Stephen Thompson in their first fight where he wasn’t credited as being a smart fighter, or fighting to the level of his opponent when he performed like Adesanya. White slammed Woodley very publicly, and very loudly. White was pissed off because his champion Woodley didn’t fight like a champion in his opinion.
In hindsight, the main event was not main event worthy. Neither fighter performed the way we all know they could have or maybe should have. I say maybe because it’s not my place to tell either one how to do their job, I can only hope that they fight the way I know they can.
The question that we wanted answered last night of who is better, unfortunately, more than likely will never be answered. Even if Romero goes on a tear and beats up everybody else, it is highly unlikely that he will ever get another shot at the belt especially as long as Adesanya is wearing it.
Like the rest of the world, I was disappointed with the lack of performance from both fighters in the main event at UFC 248 last night. I won’t say that one guy did worse than the other because they were both culpable in the crime of robbing all of us of a championship fight last night in Las Vegas UFC 248.
Christopher James has been in the MMA industry for 15 years, Working as a ring announcer for promotions like the XFC, Island Fights, Combat Night and Fight Nights Global during his career. Chris’ love for the sport and the athletes that partake in it led him to writing and doing face to face interviews with the athletes he admired and respected. Chris isn’t conventional by any stretch of the imagination, he has his own style, and takes pride in not being a “cookie-cutter” member of the media. Unique and sometimes controversial takes are what he brings to the table, forcing folks to think a little differently about the world of MMA. He also has a love for music as he has been a dj for 25 years and his love for music gets brought to the MMA world when he gets his guests to sing on his weekly show Cage Side with Christopher James which can be seen Wednesday nights on FACEBOOK LIVE, and soon via podcast.