UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya to face Yoel Romero at UFC 248

Jack BaerWriter
Yahoo Sports

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will mount his first official title defense at UFC 248 against MMA veteran Yoel Romero, according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

The event is scheduled to take place on March 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

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Adesanaya leapt to MMA stardom in October with a dominant win over then-champion Robert Whittaker, knocking out the Australian in the second round to unify the middleweight title. Adesanya got his shot at the title thanks to a classic win over Kelvin Gastelum to capture the interim belt.

The 30-year-old has found quick popularity thanks to his colorful walkouts and dances, and a strong performance against Romero would help cement him as one of the new faces of the UFC.

Romero, currently ranked as the UFC’s No. 3 middleweight, will get his fourth shot at an interim or full middleweight belt, missing out on the previous three due to either missing weight or losing. The Cuban has lost three of his lost four fights, falling to Whittaker twice and Paulo Costa once, all by decision.

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 13: Israel Adesanya holds up the belt after defeating Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision in their interim middleweight championship bout during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 13: Israel Adesanya holds up the belt after defeating Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision in their interim middleweight championship bout during the UFC 236 event at State Farm Arena on April 13, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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