Brad Tavares Looking to End Israel Adesanya’s Unbeaten Run at TUF Finale

Ranked middleweight Brad Tavares will attempt to do something no MMA fighter has done before, defeat “The Last Stylebender.”

Updated: July 4, 2018 • 9:28 AM ET

Brad Tavares (right) is looking to improve on his impressive MMA record.

The UFC will warm fans up for Saturday’s UFC 226 card with The Ultimate Fighter Finale on Friday in Las Vegas. No. 8 ranked middleweight Brad Tavares and rising contender Israel Adesanya will headline the TUF Finale with the winner joining a heavy mix of title contenders in the middleweight division.


Tavares is riding a four-fight winning streak, having most recently defeated Krzysztof Jotko by third-round TKO in April. The 30-year-old from Hawaii believes he will end the hype surrounding his opponent on Friday.


“Regardless of what he says, I know he hasn’t fought someone like me,” Tavares said during a recent media scrum. “And I know he thinks, or says at least, that he thinks that his last guy was tougher than me, but I mean, he’s delusional or crazy. I don’t know.”


Tavares is 12-4 in the UFC with two of those losses coming by the two men that fought for the middleweight title last month. Since making his UFC debut in 2010, Tavares has defeated key fighters such as Nat Marquardt, Lorenz Larkin, Thales Leites and Jotko. Shutting down the hype of Adesanya, however, would be his biggest victory to date.


Adesanya, 2-0 in the UFC and 13-0 overall, made his debut in spectacular fashion with a Performance of the Night, second-round knockout of Rob Wilkinson in February. He followed that performance with a close, split-decision win over Marvin Vettori in April. Adesanya is known for his creative style and previously found success in pro boxing and kickboxing.


“The Last Stylebender” is confident he will stay undefeated after meeting his toughest test on Friday.


“People think I just showed up out of nowhere,” Adesanya told MMA Fighting. “They don’t know anything about the body of work I’ve put together over the last 10 years; they don’t realize where I’ve been or know about the asses I’ve been kicking all over the world.


“I don’t want to be babied all the way to the top. The UFC have been looking after me. I’ve been getting the fights I want, they just didn’t know that I wanted them. They aren’t rushing me, I’m going at my own pace and I’m cruising.”


The 28-year-old from Nigeria has won by KO or TKO in 12 of his 13 fights and could launch himself into the top 10 of the middleweight division’s rankings with a convincing win over Tavares.


Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier coached the 27th season of The Ultimate Fighter, and the two will face off in a true superfight on Saturday for Miocic’s heavyweight title.





Also on the card


Featherweight fight - Alex Caceres vs. Martin Bravo


Women’s flyweight fight - No. 8 Roxanne Modafferi vs. No. 7 Barb Honchak


Middleweight fight - Alessio Di Chirico vs. Julian Marquez


Women’s flyweight fight - Montana De La Rosa vs. Rachael Ostovich


Lightweight fight - Luis Pena vs. Richie Smullen


Lightweight fight - John Gunther vs. Allan Zuniga


Featherweight fight - Matt Bessette vs. Steven Peterson


Middleweight fight - Gerald Meerschaert vs. Oskar Piechota



• All fights can be seen on FS1

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