Israel Adesanya has evolved in recent times by continually improving his game to climb through UFC rankings. With gold on the line, the Kiwi middleweight is optimistic ahead of his bout against American Kelvin Gastelum in Atlanta next weekend.
“I feel confident – I feel very confident going into this fight.”
Adesanya is going to face the biggest test in his MMA career. Known for his striking strength and reliable ground game, Gastelum will come in strong with the interim middleweight title at stake.
While preparing for the fight, Israel Adesanya had the luxury to train with fellow City Kickboxing stars. That includes Dan Hooker and Kai Kara France, as well as Frank Hickman.
Talking about his fight camp, Israel Adesanya said,
“There’s been ups and downs, smiles and frowns – like any other camp.”
“To be honest, since it’s a world title fight, a lot of people are projecting more of their own insecurities, like ‘oh are you ready of this?’ – I’ve been ready for all the other fights so I keep that same energy. It’s just another fight – you take the belt away and it’s still me and Kelvin. The belt’s just a nice trophy you get at the end.”
Israel Adesanya who remains undefeated in 16 professional fights had some tough sessions during his seven-week training camp.
Head coach Eugene Bareman said,
“The second to last week is a pretty hard we for us.
“We tend to train pretty hard then taper off toward the end of the week and definitely next week.
“There is going to be some blood spilled and some tears shed before the end of the week, I can tell you that for sure.
“That’s how you’ve got to prepare for these competitions.”
Once UFC announced the fight, Coach Bareman gave an extra week off to Israel Adesanya. Bareman felt Adesanya needed a bit more down time before camp. The fighter has fought five times already in his first year with UFC.
On the other hand Kelvin Gastelum has only fought four times since 2016. He also holds a 15-3 record with six victories by knockout and four by submission.
“Technically we have a lot of respect for Gastelum and what he does,” Bareman said. “This will be the hardest fight of Israel’s MMA career so far because of what Gastelum brings to the table.
“It puts us on the edge but it’s good; it makes us work, it makes us be sharp, it makes us take care of everything.”
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