UFC 248 will be remembered not for the lackluster main event in which Israel Adesanya retained his middleweight title in a slow-paced affair vs. Yoel Romero as the crowd booed throughout, but for the instant classic that proceeded it.
In the co-main event, Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk put on what might go down as the best women’s fight in UFC history. Zhang retained her title via split decision against the ex-champion after five rounds of absolute violence.
UFC 248 main card
Israel Adesanya def. Yoel Romero via unanimous decision (48-47 x 2, 49-46)
Round 1: Romero comes out with hands high and just stands there for 20-30 seconds in the center of the cage. Nothing happening for the first 90 seconds. Adesanya feinting but not throwing and Romero standing there with a high guard. Adesanya with a low kick. Adesanya misses a right but lands a kick. Overhand left by Yoel. Kick by Adesanya. Crowd is booing. Romero misses a high kick. Body kick by Romero and Adesanya backs away. Adesanya’s round, 10-9.
Round 2: Izzy opens with a front kick. Big left by Romero lands. Adesanya tries another head kick that is blocked. Low kick by Izzy. Kick to thigh by Izzy. Romero lands a hard left after going a long while doing nothing. Another left by Romero as Adesanya was kicking. Low kick by Izzy. Crowd booing again. Romero’s round, 10-9.
Round 3: They open the third round throwing kicks. Adesanya barely misses a head kick that would have ended it. Romero misses with a big left, but that left has been a factor for Romero. It’s really all he’s connected on. Romero with a leg kick Izzy checks. Crowd chanting, “Boring.” Neither can get his hands untracked. Izzy chopping at the legs with kicks now. Fans are holding up flashlights on their phones. Izzy misses a high kick. Crowd lustily boos the fighters as the bell ends. Adesanya’s round, 10-9.
Round 4: Referee Dan Miragliotta opens the round by telling the fighters to engage more and give the judges something work with. Romero is talking a lot as the fourth begins. Both are circling, but neither can get off much. Izzy throws a low kick and dances away. Romero is waving his hands in his defense but not throwing them. Hard low kick by Izzy but Yoel blocks the high one. Romero poked in eye and time is called. Fight continues after doctor checks Yoel. Romero isn’t doing much of anything. He misses badly on a wild left after I type that. Kick to the thigh by Izzy. Jab by Adesanya. Romero misses a takedown and grazes him with a left. Adesanya’s round, 10-9.
Round 5: Left by Romero. Crowd is booing again. Adesanya pawing at him but not doing much else now. Crowd unhappy and they’re not shy about expressing that. Izzy stuffs a takedown. Romero misses a left. Two minutes left and still little action. Romero misses a left and a right badly. Izzy gave Yoel the finger. Left by Romero. Crowd boos at the bell. Romero’s round, 10-9. - Kevin Iole
Zhang Weili def. Joanna Jedrzejczyk via split decision (48-47 x 2, 47-48)
Round 1: Fighters open by kicking quite a bit at each other and occasionally flicking the jab. Jedrzejczyk lands a good straight right about a minute into the fight. Jedrzejczyk gets the best of a flurry in the center. Zhang lands a right. Front kick by Jedrzejczyk just misses. Lead right by Zhang connects. Redness is coming up on Zhang’s face. Zhang stalking now. Good flurry and both land. Zhang with a right backs up Jedrzejczyk. Jedrzejczyk lands after the bell and the crowd boos. Jedrzejczyk’s round, 10-9.
Round 2: Right by Zhang at start of the round backs Jedrzejczyk up. Good combination by Zhang. Hard jab by Jedrzejczyk. They clinch against the cage 90 seconds into the round. Knee by Jedrzejczyk lands. Standing elbow from Zhang and they separate. Good right by Zhang and another one. Joanna may be hurt. Right by Joanna. They go down but pop up quickly. Zhang’s right eye is swelling. Body kick by Weili. Zhang’s round, 10-9.
Round 3: They open by circling each other, with both women firing out right hands that are short. Right by Jedrzejczyk lands. Each woman lands a right. Good left by Jedrzejczyk. Body kick by Jedrzejczyk backs Zhang up. Jedrzejczyk is now moving forward. Left hand by Jedrzejczyk. Zhang’s offense has been stifled so far, halfway through the round. Ninety seconds left in the round and Zhang hasn’t done a lot. Right by Zhang hurts Jedrzejczyk. Joanna having success as a southpaw though a hematoma has begun swelling on her forehead. Left by Jedrzejczyk snaps Zhang’s head. Zhang bleeding from the mouth. Jedrzejczyk’s round, 10-9.
Round 4: Body kick by Weili to open the round and then they flurry. Left hook by Zhang staggers Jedrzejczyk briefly. Another good left hook by Zhang. A left hook and a right by Zhang and a knee to the body from Jedrzejczyk. The faces of both women are heavily marked up. Crowd chanting for Joanna. Right by Zhang lands. A lead right snaps Jedrzejczyk’s head back. Crowd now chanting Zhang’s name. They clinch against the cage and maybe catch a breather from this torrid pace. A minute left in the round. They trade left hooks. Great right by Zhang. Zhang’s round, 10-9.
Round 5: Crowd roaring on its feet as the fifth begins. Fighters embrace before going back at it. Hard kick by Jedrzejczyk. Right by Zhang lands and Jedrzejczyk circles away. Good right by Jedrzejczyk but Zhang walks through it and lands one of her own. Right by Joanna hurts Weili. They trade in the center and both kind of stagger backward momentarily. Huge egg growing on Joanna’s forehead. Front kick by Jedrzejczyk. A minute left. Double jab from Zhang. Right by Zhang and a left elbow from Zhang. Crowd on its feet roaring as the fight ends. Zhang’s round, 10-9. - Kevin Iole
Beneil Dariush def. Drakkar Klose via KO at 1:00 of R2:
Neil Magny def. Li Jingliang via unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)
Alex Oliveira def. Max Griffin via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)
UFC 248 prelims full results and highlights
Sean O’Malley def. José Alberto Quiñónez via TKO (punches) at 2:02 of R1:
Mark O. Madsen def. Austin Hubbard via unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)
Rodolfo Vieira def. Saparbek Safarov via submission (arm triangle) at 2:57 of R1:
Gerald Meerschaert def. Deron Winn via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:13 of R3:
UFC 248 early prelims full results
Giga Chikadze def. Jamall Emmers via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Danaa Batgerel def. Guido Cannetti via TKO (punches) at 2:58 of R1:
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