Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya both lost their belts in similar fashion in 2022. Both fighters entered the fifth-round ahead three rounds to one on all three judges’ scorecards before being finished.
Chael Sonnen recently shared a conversation he had with a friend regarding title fight upsets.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, Sonnen stated:
“I got asked a d**k question by my own friend Ryan. Sends me a text message, he says ‘hey, Adesanya and Usman, what can we learn from their fights?’ Now, what he’s referring to is two guys that are in control of the match, only have to beat the clock, they’ve already got the score, they’ve already handled their opponent. They just gotta run out the clock.”
“They stayed in the fight. They stayed aggressive. They didn’t try to stall. They didn’t do any kind of gamesmanship or strategy, which then allows their opponent an opportunity in the fifth-round of championship fights. This is what he asked me. Now, is he not aware that that’s what happened to me? I mean, is he not aware that I was a minute and 24 seconds away?”
Sonnen shared that the mentality of a champion doesn’t allow them to change in the fifth-round even if they are ahead in the fight. While Usman and Adesanya could have avoided putting themselves at risk in the fifth-round, both fighters chased a finish and were ultimately defeated.
Watch Chael Sonnen discuss Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya below (starting at the 1:40 mark):
Israel Adesanya shares his thoughts on controversial UFC 281 stoppage
Israel Adesanya entered the fifth-round of his UFC 281 title fight against Alex Pereira ahead three rounds to one on all three judges’ scorecards. With Adesanya visibly wobbled, but not downed, referee Marc Goddard stepped in and called the fight.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Adesanya discussed the stoppage, stating:
“You reffed the Gastelum fight. You’ve seen where I can go to. You should have that kind of faith in me, and also you gave Kelvin Gastelum every chance after he got dropped the most in any title fight in the UFC’s history. So I didn’t get dropped, yeah I got wobbled, but I wobbled ’cause of my leg. You know, I got hit big shots but I wobbled ’cause of my leg.”
While Adesanya was on his way to losing the round, the former middleweight champion believes that he could have survived the final few minutes. He will likely have a chance to avenge his loss in Pereira’s first title defense.
Watch Israel Adesanya’s full comments below: