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Combat Docket Prospect Report: Israel “The Style Bender” Adesanya

07-01-2017 21:04 EST | Robert Green

Israel “The Style Bender” Adesanya is a middleweight fighting out of New Zealand who was born in Nigeria. He currently has a record of 9-0 and has finished all of his fights by KO/TKO. He trains out of City Kickboxing, a small gym that only has two other fighters listed although they both have respectable records, Shane Young at 10-2 and Simon Scott at 5-1. Adesanya’s fights have taken place in either New Zealand or Chinese regional promotions.

Some quick stats:

  • MMA Record: 9-0-0
  • Nickname: The Style Bender
  • Current Streak: 11 Wins
  • Age: 27
  • Weight Class: Middleweight
  • Affiliation: City Kickboxing
  • Height: 6’3″ (190cm)
  • Fighting out of: Auckland, New Zealand

Adesanya is actually a high-level kickboxer who has fought in GLORY and recently challenged for their middleweight title, going 5 rounds with Jason Wilnis but ultimately losing a decision [LINK]. H1s overall kickboxing record is an impressive 65-5-2. He’s also 5-1 as a boxer but hasn’t fought there since 2015 when he won 2 one night tournaments. (I didn’t even know those were a thing in boxing. New Zealand is pretty hardcore.) For the sake of the article, I will hope/presume he focuses on MMA in the future.

(Highlight vids have the worst music.)

Adesanya’s first fight told me little, as his opponent, James Griffiths chose to stand with him but clearly wasn’t on the same level there and had a height & reach disadvantage as well. The finish came rather quickly and was strange as Adesanya threw a flying knee and both men’s legs got entangled and they fell to the ground, with it being difficult to see if Griffiths was rocked by the knee or tripped. Adesanya still capitalized with a flurry of punches & a brutal soccer kick to the ribs to finish.

Adesanya landed in deep waters early in his MMA career, as against John Vake in his second fight he quickly found himself taken down. He showed an ability to scramble, apply half guard well, and get back to his feet while avoiding submissions. Adesanya continued to struggle with being taken down but his opponent did less to threaten him over time. On his feet Adesanya had a brief flurry including a flashy attempt at a spinning back kick assisted by the cage. He was taken down again but managed to slip out and then landed a surprising judo throw. This throw allowed him to get full mount and rain down GNP of both punches and elbows, while the very tough Vake avoided losing consciousness or getting cut up by the elbows, he couldn’t escape and the fight was stopped.

After this, it becomes more difficult to find Adesanya fights, but he has cut his teeth fighting more experienced opponents. He’s beaten Vladimir Katyhin (34-6-1), Dibir Zagirov (15-4), and Andrew Flores Smith (15-9), all by some form of KO/TKO stoppage. Katyhin went on to beat Joe Ray in his next fight. Adesanya has shown an ability to fight at a high level in both MMA and kickboxing. If he wished to continue to do that, Bellator MMA would be a good choice for him. But if he wanted to focus on MMA, he has the skills to make it to the UFC.

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