Isreal Adesanya VS Yoel Romero post-fight analysis: a boring fight or a tactical masterpiece?

Here is the Israel Adesanya Vs Yoel Romero post-fight analysis where I will try to decipher this whole mess. We are going to talk about:

– What was great in that fight, surprising as that might sound?
– Who was right when it comes to accusing each other of not engaging?
– Did Adesanya deserve to win?
– What Romero uses heavily from his wrestling background.
– And also my future prognosis for both fighters.

Watch the video or read the article below.

What was great in the fight

Despite most people considering this fight to be boring, there were some great displays of skills which we are going to break down. And remember, I’m not saying this from a perspective of a fan because I don’t watch fights that way but from the perspective of a coach who analyses fights. I get that fans didn’t like this fight, but there are still a lot of things we can learn.

a). Romero’s striking defense and counters

Although he did absorb a lot of low kicks to his thigh, he defended most of the shots and countered. The counters were mostly overhand lefts and some of them connected pretty well. Adesanya proved he could take a shot and continued fighting seemingly unfazed. Romero used a lot of blocks that reminded me of a 52 blocks system.

Romero’s defense resembles 52 blocks system

He blocked or ducked a lot of high kicks and he was also able to read Adesanya’s question mark kick and duck under it. That was particularly impressive since it is very difficult to tell if it’s a low kick or a high kick. Somehow he was able to read it which was incredible.

Romero ducking under Adesanya’s question mark kick

b) Adesanya’s low kicks.

Israel Adesanya was able to land many low kicks on Romero, and because of it his right thigh looked discolored and slightly deformed with some kind of bumps. Romero never even attempted to hide that leg in the fight, nor did he in any way show that it hurt him. He denied that it had any effect on him in the post-fight press conference, and even danced a bit of salsa to prove it, but knowing full well how those low kicks hurt and by the looks of his thigh, it must have been very painful. He had a great poker face throughout the fight though.

I think that Adesanya should have started with low kicks earlier which would damage Romero’s thigh even more and would make him chase and try to counter Adesanya. That could have potentially created some opportunities for Adesanya’s own counters. At least in the beginning when Romero almost didn’t engage at all.

Adesanya’s low kicks disrupting Romero

c) Romero’s foot sweep into a flurry of punches

Yoel Romero did a very interesting and subtle move to unbalance Adesanya before he tried to knock him out. When you sweep the foot, your opponent must try to regain balance and drop his defenses which creates an opportunity for you to attack. Luckily for Adesanya, he managed to escape unscathed. Still, it was a great technical display by Romero.

Romero’s foot sweep into a flurry of punches

d) Adesanya’s front kick to the face

We’ve seen the front kick to the face before when both Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort knocked out Vitor Belfort with it. Adesanya did well to connect but it didn’t seem like it hurt Romero. Nevertheless, it was still a nice kick.

Adesanya front kicks Romero to the face

e) Adesanya’s takedown defense and get-ups

Another thing that impressed me was the way Adesanya got up when he was taken down. He literally did that instantly. And also his takedown defense.

Adesanya gets up after being taken down by Romero

Adesanya defends the takedown

Who was right when it comes to accusing each other of not engaging?

Both fighters have accused each other of not engaging in fighting. Adesanya has said that Romero has been very passive and not giving him anything to work with, and Romero said that Adesanya was running away too much. that this is not the way a true champion fights.

So, who was right?

Well…both were, but since it was Romero who needed to dethrone Adesanya, it was up to him to push the pace more and try harder. He did try more during the last two rounds, but not enough to take home the belt.
He is known for fighting very passive and by doing that, he gives his opponents a false sense of security and then explodes on them. And oftentimes he knocks them out.

Adesanya specifically said that he wanted to stop Romero and knock him out, but he didn’t fight like that. While I do understand and appreciate a smart way of fighting which will reduce the chance of injury, he shouldn’t have talked about stopping Romero. He came nowhere near that and his attempts were very timid. Still, he did what he had to do to win.

Romero did go for knockouts but I guess he expected Adesanya to attack more so he could counter more. Since that didn’t work, he should have been more proactive. Maybe he wasn’t because he doesn’t have the stamina to push the pace constantly or it’s just not his style, but it didn’t look good for either of them. If Romero wanted the belt, he shouldn’t be angry that Adesanya didn’t engage him when he wanted to come close and slug it out. That would have not been wise and Adesanya knows better. He had 5 rounds to knock Adesanya out but failed to use all that time.

Did Adesanya deserve to win?

Isreal Adesanya did just enough to retain the title, mostly with low kicks, and Romero was too passive. It looked like a pretty even fight to me, with maybe a slight edge for Adesanya.

I don’t like the round system for MMA and I think the fights should be judged as a whole. I think the rules of MMA should change and I talked about it in this video.

What Romero uses heavily from his wrestling background.

There has been a lot of talk about Romero not using his elite wrestling skills in MMA, despite being one of the most decorated wrestlers ever to step foot in the octagon. Why does he do that?

I think for a similar if not the same reason Justin Gaethje does it – to conserve energy.

I think Yoel Romero also conserves energy by not wrestling. Instead, he uses his extreme explosiveness and strength, paired by his formidable skills, to knock people out. If you want to use takedowns offensively you must do something after you take your opponent down. Either ground and pound him or submit him. Or both. That takes a lot of skill and stamina.

I’m not sure Romero has enough stamina to do that.

And I’m in no way saying that he isn’t skillful on the ground. He did knock out Machida with elbows from top half guard. And he did pound jacare from open guard, but I doubt he has the ground and pound skills of Khabib Nurmagomedov or submission skills of an elite BJJer. That is why he prefers to stand and bang.

So what did I mean when I mentioned that he uses something heavily from his wrestling background if he rarely goes for takedowns?

What he uses is the ability to formulate a game plan according to his strengths, do what is necessary to win without over-exerting himself and getting fatigued, and also to analyze his opponent and find weaknesses. And he has perfected that from decades of wrestling at the highest level of competition.

This is one of the most interesting things to me. A wrestler who can stand toe to toe with such an experienced kickboxer like Adesanya who has over 80 kickboxing fights, and even make him over-cautious about getting knocked out.

That comes from his insane genetics and talent, but also from a lifetime of wrestling and being a part of the Cuban Olympic program.

My future prognosis for both fighters.

It is difficult to tell what will happen with Romero next. He must be very disappointed because he lost the last three fights, and many people, including him, thought he won those fights.
There is a possibility of UFC cutting him, but I don’t believe they will do that because he usually has exciting fights, despite his energy-conserving style.
If he is going to challenge for a title fight again, he needs to have at least 3-4 wins and that can take a while. If he is cut, he might go to a different promotion and try to become a champion there.
he could also retire, but I heard him say that he wants to be like Bernard Hopkins and fight in his fifties. So, everything is possible.

Adesanya, on the other hand, has to deal with the savage that is Paulo Costa. He fought Romero too, but that fight looked a lot different than this one. He will bring it to Adesanya and there will be no stalling on Costa’s part. On that many experts agree.

Costa punching Romero

Will Costa be able to pressure Adesanya and knock him out, or will Adesanya use his slick movement and counter him as he did to Whittaker? That remains to be seen.

What did you think about Adesanya VS Romero fight? Were you disappointed and what, if anything, did you like the most? Let me know in the youtube comments.

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