UFC free fight: Israel Adesanya digs deep for Fight of the Year win over Kelvin Gastelum

Just shy of the four-year anniversary of their all-time classic encounter, Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum will both take to the cage at UFC 287.

In the main event of the April 8 card, which takes place at Miami-Dade Arena in Miami and airs on pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN and ESPN+, Adesanya (23-2 MMA, 12-2 UFC) will attempt to regain the middleweight title from Alex Pereira (7-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC), who is the only man to beat him in the weight class.

The second-closest person to came close to defeating Adesanya at 185 pounds was Gastelum (16-8 MMA, 11-8 UFC), who will attempt to get back on track on the UFC 287 prelims when he faces Chris Curtis (30-9 MMA, 4-1 UFC) in his return from a career-long layoff.


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Both men desperately need to get their hands raised, which is a far cry from when they were at the pinnacle for their UFC 236 matchup in April 2019. The epic contest turned out to be the Fight of the Year, with Adesanya and Gastelum going tooth-and-nail for five rounds in a memorable affair.

Adesanya scored a UFC title-fight record four knockdowns over the 25 minutes, and Gastelum tested him more than anyone else up to that point. Ultimately Adesanya was awarded the unanimous decision win following five rounds where both sides had to dig deep.

Ahead of Adesanya and Gastelum’s return to action, the UFC has released the full UFC 236 fight between them for the world to watch back.

Check out the full video above.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 287.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie