MMA fans were pretty disappointed by the UFC 248 main event, which pitted middleweight champ Israel Adesanya against challenger Yoel Romero. Former fighter and MMA analyst Chael Sonnen believes that’s because, as fans, we’re accustomed to amazing fights. Or as he puts it, “spoiled beyond belief.”
The man’s not wrong.
“As MMA fans, we have been spoiled beyond belief,” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “We have been treated to high-paced, high-action fights, so when one of them isn’t what we expected with the pace and the action, I realize how that is surprising. But it’s on par for other sports. Sometimes things happen that aren’t what you expected to happen—which is a nice of saying dull and not a whole lot of action.”
The good news, at least according to Sonnen, is that Adesanya’s next fight is very unlikely to be a dud. Adesanya is next expected to defend his title against undefeated Brazilian juggernaut Paulo Costa.
“When you’re talking about Paulo Costa, all the makings of an exciting fight are there,” Sonnen said. “Adesanya is a very fun, very exciting fighter. He had one weird night that he was fifty percent. Paulo Costa has had zero bad nights that he’s ever been a part of. Everything about him is fun. You put those two guys together, you have a very reasonable expectation that something entertaining and action-packed is going to take place.”
Sonnen also gave some insight into the matchup itself, pointing to the fact that Adesanya does his best work when his opponent is pushing the action—and that the same is true of Costa.
“Make sure you do understand, over the course of of those 25 minutes [of Adesanya vs. Romero], there were some exchanges,” Sonnen said. “There were only few, but there were some exchanges, and when Romero came at Izzy, that’s when Izzy came to life and did his best work. You can back: look at when Robert Whittaker came at Izzy. That’s when Izzy came to life and did his best work.”
“That’s when Costa’s at his best [too]. Costa wants you coming at him.”
Suffice it to say that Chael Sonnen believes the yet unscheduled Israel Adesanya vs. Paulo Costa fight will be a thriller. Then again, that’s what us spoiled fight fans expected from Adesanya vs. Romero too.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 3/11/2020.