What an incredible year 2019 was in the world of mixed martial arts; a year where we saw UFC titles created, new champions crowned and superstars emerge.
One of those fighters that earned a seat at the superstar table in 2019 was UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.
Between his unique and dynamic fighting style, quick wit, insightful and off-the-top-of-the-dome promos, and, of course, the unforgettable entrance to the Octagon for his undisputed championship winning main event against Robert Whittaker at UFC 243, “The Last Stylebender” is the 2019 recipient of The Scrap’s Entertainer of the Year award.
— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) November 22, 2019
Adesanya began 2019 on the cusp of superstardom, but also still had some questions to answer amongst fans and media members. After receiving the proverbial torch for all-time great Anderson Silva at UFC 234 in February, the 30-year-old Adesanya got his first opportunity at UFC gold when he took on Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight title at April’s UFC 236 event in Atlanta. The fight itself was an instant classic, as Adesanya and Gastelum battled it out for the first 20 minutes tooth and nail. It was the final five minutes of that epic battle that left no more questions to be answered.
The City Kickboxing product dug deep and found a second gear that will go down in history, as he dropped Gastelum multiple times en route to a unanimous decision victory and the interim 185-pound strap wrapped around his waist.
Six months later, Adesanya would take on Robert Whittaker in the main event of UFC 243 in front of nearly 60,000 fans in Melbourne, Australia. “The Last Stylebender” lived up to his moniker when he had one of the most memorable and iconic entrances to the Octagon in UFC history.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 6, 2019
The “wow” factor of Adesanya’s game–changing entrance continued inside of the Octagon as well, as the Nigeria-born fighter dropped Whittaker in the final seconds of the opening round, and eventually finished “The Reaper” in the second to become the undisputed middleweight champion of the world.
When it came to defining the word entertainment in a wild year of mixed martial arts action, it can be defined in two words: Israel Adesanya — The Scrap’s 2019 Entertainer of the Year.