This July, the Last Stylebender will have his biggest test yet. Israel Adesanya came to the UFC after racking up a 50-5-2 record in kickboxing, where he fought twice for the Glory middleweight title. He started 2-0 and defeated Rob Wilkinson and Marvin Vettori, with both fights happening earlier this year. Now, his third fight of 2018 will come against a top ten opponent. Brad Tavares is riding a four fight win streak, and has five wins in his last six bouts.
Tavares last fought earlier this month, at UFC on FOX 29, and defeated Krzystof Jotko with a third round TKO. Additionally, his only loss in his last six fights came at the hands of current middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. He hasn’t received much of a push from the UFC, but he’ll headline The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale, on July 6. The choice of opponent is also interesting, as a lot is at stake for both fighters. Tavares would gain a lot from defeating one of the division’s top prospects, and Adesanya could move into the rankings with a victory here.
The card for the Finale is currently shaping up and will also feature a rematch between Roxanne Modafferi and Barb Honchak, and a middleweight bout between Alessio Di Chirico and Julian Marquez. Flyweights Montana De La Rosa and Rachael Ostovich will also face each other and fight for the first time since the TUF 26 Finale.