Israel Adesanya will get his wish.
According to a report from ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Adesanya is set to defend his middleweight title against former title challenger Yoel Romero in the main event of UFC 248 on March 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Over the last few years, “The Last Stylebender’s” rise through the UFC ranks has been one of the hottest storylines in the sport. Since debuting in the promotion in early 2018, the 30-year-old former Glory kickboxer has won seven-straight fights.
In particular, 2019 was a massive year for Adesanya, as he started it off with a victory over legendary former titleholder Anderson Silva before earning a decision win over Kelvin Gastelum in a five-round war for the interim title that ranked as one of the year’s best fights. Most recently, Adesanya scored a second-round knockout victory over Robert Whittaker in a title unification bout to become the undisputed 185-pound champion.
Romero, meanwhile, has long been one of the division’s most feared combatants. A former Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, the now 42-year-old Cuban has relied on his freakish athleticism and elite explosiveness to transform into a well-rounded fighter with both strong wrestling and fight-ending knockout power.
Making his UFC debut in 2013, “The Soldier of God” went on to win his first eight bouts inside the Octagon. That stretch featured six finishes and included victories over notable names like Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza, and Chris Weidman.
Most recently, Romero has lost back-to-back fights to Whittaker and fellow top contender Paulo Costa, though both fights ended in somewhat controversial decisions.
As far as the rest of the division goes, Jared Cannonier, who was originally set to face Whittaker on March 7, is now expected to take on Darren Till after Whittaker was forced to withdraw due to personal reasons. It’s very possible that the winner of Cannonier vs. Till will get the next crack at the title.