Israel Adesanya vs. Dricus Du Plessis
UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas
UFC 290 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas provided some notable moments. Let’s discuss a few post-fight thoughts: Robbie Lawler’s retirement couldn’t have been more perfect, as he secured a 38-second knockout victory over Niko Price in his farewell fight. It’s rare to witness legends retire on such a high note, but Lawler (30-16 MMA, 15-10 UFC) managed to create his own memorable exit. The UFC paid tribute to Lawler with a touching in-cage video package. While we could write an essay about Lawler’s remarkable career, he preferred keeping it short and sweet. Let’s honor the “Ruthless” one with a brief tribute.
Although Bo Nickal demolished short-notice replacement Val Woodburn with a 38-second knockout, there’s a desire to see him face tougher opponents. While it’s understandable that the UFC wants to slow-play the rising prospect, many fans are eager to witness his skills against superior competition. UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard’s approach may require patience, but it is likely to pay off in the end, given Nickal’s potential to compete for UFC titles.
The faceoff between Israel Adesanya
The faceoff between Israel Adesanya and Dricus Du Plessis after Du Plessis’s second-round TKO victory over Robert Whittaker created controversy. Adesanya’s behavior during the faceoff has added a divisive element to the build-up of their title fight, reminiscent of the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor rivalry. Du Plessis initially sparked the storyline with his comments about being the “real African fighter” due to living in South Africa, unlike Adesanya, who has spent most of his life in New Zealand. Adesanya took exception to this and has intensified the narrative. While Du Plessis deserves the title shot based on merit, the cultural and historical aspects are now part of the overall story, making it uncomfortable for many.
During the faceoff, Adesanya’s emotional state led to provocative remarks, including bringing up DNA tests and using charged language. Whether this emotional outburst reflects poorly on Adesanya is subjective, but in that moment, he was unapologetic about his feelings towards Du Plessis. The moral implications of this narrative are not for me or the UFC to decide. As we approach their title fight, the intensity is likely to increase, and we should brace ourselves for what lies ahead.