Yoel Romero started Saturday night’s fight against Israel Adesanya standing completely motionless, with his hands covering his face in a shell-like guard. The fight began on a bizarre not and got same foot to he end.
Romero waited for Adesanya to make the first move so that he could explode and do damage. More often than not, that move never came as the champion opted to mostly attack the lead leg from distance.
Adesanya and Romero combined for only 88 significant strikes. That total was the least in a UFC middleweight title fight since UFC 112 on April 10, 2010, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. That bout, between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia, had just 71 combined significant strikes.
When the final bell rang, Adesanya and Romero, both clearly frustrated, went chest to chest and had to be separated by Miragliotta as the crowd showered them with jeers.
The fans booed the result after booing throughout. At one point in the third round, people in the crowd started shining the flashlights on their cellphones.
“As long as [the judges] didn’t listen to the crowd, I was fine,” Adesanya said.
Afterward, Romero said it was “my victory.” The fans, who cheered him following the decision, seemed to agree. Adesanya did outland Romero in three of the five rounds: the second, third and fourth, according to UFC Stats.
Romero (13-5) has lost three straight. The 42-year-old Cuba native has not won a fight since 2018. Romero, 42, won the freestyle wrestling silver medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Adesanya is the fastest to 8-0 in modern UFC history (755 days), breaking Silva’s record of 850. The eight-fight winning streak is the longest active winning streak at middleweight and tied for the third longest in division history.
Adesanya made a disclosed guarantee of $500,000 for the fight, while Romero made at least $300,000, according to purses obtained from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.