The respectful and heartwarming interaction between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum has seemingly won hearts in the MMA community. Adesanya faced Gastelum for the interim UFC middleweight title at UFC 236 in April 2019.
Their fight ended up being a five-round war and is regarded as one of the greatest MMA bouts ever. Gastelum had ‘The Last Stylebender’ in trouble with a head kick but was gradually outworked courtesy of the Nigerian-born New Zealand fighter’s diverse striking arsenal.
Adesanya almost finished Gastelum in the fifth and final round and won their showdown via unanimous decision, capturing the interim title. Adesanya subsequently won the undisputed UFC middleweight title as well.
The former opponents ran into each other at the UFC 290 event, which transpired at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this past Saturday night (July 8th, 2023). They embraced and expressed their respect for each other, besides also posing for photographs. Adesanya notably asserted that he’s proud of Gastelum, while the latter similarly lauded the middleweight kingpin for his accomplishments.
As displayed above, Kelvin Gastelum tweeted a video of his interaction with Israel Adesanya. The MMA Twitter realm was set abuzz by Gastelum’s tweet, with several fans recalling their classic fight. Besides, one fan insinuated that their heartening interaction signifies the beauty of the sport of MMA:
“I love this sport”
One Twitter user opined that the respectful version of Adesanya is the one that his fans love, whereas another Twitter user alluded to the fact that the middleweight superstar has lately been burying the hatchet with longtime rivals:
“Izzy squashing all the beefs..”
ome fans jested that Adesanya was under the influence and, therefore, was more expressive emotionally. Others labeled both fighters as gentlemen. Implying that the interaction was truly emotional, a fan tweeted:
“Who’s cutting onions?”
Check out a few screenshots of the fan comments regarding the Adesanya-Gastelum interaction below:
What’s next for Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum?
Israel Adesanya‘s most recent fight witnessed him defeat archnemesis Alex Pereira via second-round KO in April 2023. The victory helped ‘The Last Stylebender’ reclaim the UFC middleweight title from Pereira. The consensus is that Adesanya’s next fight could see him defend his middleweight championship against Dricus du Plessis.
It’s believed that Israel Adesanya’s title defense against Dricus du Plessis is likely to transpire at UFC 293 in Sydney, Australia, on September 10th, 2023.
Meanwhile, Kelvin Gastelum is fresh off a unanimous decision victory over Chris Curtis in a middleweight bout in April 2023. The American fighter of Mexican descent is expected to return to the welterweight division next.
Gastelum is scheduled to fight the undefeated Shavkat Rakhmonov in a welterweight matchup at the Mexican Independence Day UFC Fight Night event on September 16th, 2023.