Who Is MMA’s Nigerian Rising Star Israel ‘The Stylebender’ Adesanya?

Who Is MMA’s Nigerian Rising Star Israel ‘The Stylebender’ Adesanya?

Felix Egbomuche

Felix Egbomuche

A few months ago, if you mentioned the name Israel Mobolaji Adesanya, few people would be able to figure out who you were talking about.

In fact, except you are a keen follower of fight sports and MMA in particular, 'The Last Stylebender' isn't a moniker you'd have come across.

But today, the story is different after the Nigerian fight star defeated one of the greatest of all time in mixed martial arts history, Anderson Silva.

The win was the 16th victory for the young man who has neither suffered a defeat nor drawn so far in his professional career, with 13 of those knock out wins.

Israel's unanimous win against the legend put him on the global scale, with top international media reporting the fight.

But who is Israel Adesanya? What is his background? How long has he been a professional fighter? What record does he hold?

The 29-year-old isn't a 2019 'breakout star', as he has been around for a while but is only getting rave reviews now because Anderson was the biggest fight of his career.

Adesanya started out as a Kickboxer when he was 18 and amassed a 32-0 record in amateur Kickboxing. As a pro-Kickboxer, he had 81 fights (75 wins, 5 loses and a draw) between 2011 and 2017.

The last stylebender, as he is nicknamed (a moniker he adopted after watching the kiddies’ movie, Avatar), delved into Mixed Martial Arts in 2012 when he fought and defeated James Griffiths in Auckland, New Zealand.

After winning his first 11 MMA fights by KO/TKO in Hong Kong, Australia, and China, he was signed by the UFC where his profile has continued to rise.

In between his Kickboxing and MMA careers, Israel tried his hands on professional boxing also, winning five straight bouts after defeating two-time Australian champion, Daniel Ammann, in his first fight. His last boxing match was in November 2015.

Born in July 1989 in Lagos, Nigeria, Israel moved to Rotorua, New Zealand, at the young age of 13 and attended Rotorua Intermediate where he started training in kickboxing at age 18, after being inspired by the Muay Thai film Ong-Bak.

Adesanya relocated to Auckland, New Zealand, at the age of 21 and began training at City Kickboxing with established fighters such as Kai Kara-France and Dan Hooker.

The Last Stylebender weighs 84Kg (185 lb; 13 st 3 lb) and 193 cm (6 ft 4 in) tall. He has a reach of 203 cm (80 in) and 55% striking accuracy.

Happenings Media