Brad Tavares believes Israel Adesanya has what it takes to remain the middleweight champion for a long time.
Adesanya became the middleweight champion earlier this month following an impressive knockout victory over Robert Whittaker at UFC 243.
Tavares kept a close eye on the bout — having lost to both competitors in the past — and although he expected Adesanya to win, he didn’t expect him to get the finish. And if the two were to have a rematch in the future, the Hawaiian would likely give the edge to “The Last Stylebender” though it would depend on their next few fights.
UFC 253: Adesanya vs. Costa is this Saturday!
- Main event: Adesanya vs. Costa 🏆
- Co-main event: Reyes vs. Blachowicz 🏆
“Obviously they’re both going to make adjustments,” Tavares told Helen Yee in a recent interview. “I think I’ll be on that same fence. I think it’ll kind of just depend on, they’re obviously going to fight other people first. I think Israel’s facing Paulo [Costa] next so we’ll see how he looks in that fight and how that goes. Maybe Paulo does something that Robert could use to his advantage and we’ll see how Robert looks in his next fight.
“So it’s hard to say right now but when the time comes, I’ll probably be in the same boat. They’re such good fighters so I can see it going either way.”
Adesanya looks set to defend his title for the first time against Costa, who like him, is also undefeated both in the UFC and his professional career so far. He was expected to be out for eight months after a recent bicep surgery, but that’s not the case according to his manager.
Paulo Costa’s manager says he can return to action in April after biceps surgery, so no need to look elsewhere for an Adesanya opponent — https://t.co/8d62Ujit90
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 30, 2019
And despite the power Costa possesses, Tavares believes Adesanya is experienced enough to weather the storm and then start picking “The Eraser” apart.
“I’m going to have to go with Israel,” he added. “I think Israel can withstand the storm that is Paulo Costa. That guy is brute strength, power. He just comes forward, reckless abandon, throws everything that he’s got.
“But you see in the [Yoel] Romero fight, he starts slowing down a little bit. This is going to be a five-round fight. I think Israel is experienced enough both in kickboxing and in MMA to withstand the initial storm and then start picking him apart.”
As for Tavares, he returns to action for the first time since last year when he meets undefeated prospect Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC 244 which takes place November 2 in Madison Square Garden, New York.