Footage Resurfaces Of Young Israel Adesanya Sparring “Rumble” Johnson
This weekend’s UFC 236 co-main event is a bout for the interim Middleweight title, between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum. Recently a video resurfaced of Adesanya sparring, before he made it to the UFC.
In a video clip, uploaded to Twitter by Phil Murphy, Israel Adesanya is sparring with UFC Light Heavyweight Title Challenger, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. According to Murphy, he and Brett Okamoto traveled to the Blackzilians gym to do a video with “Rumble” while he was preparing to fight Jon Jones. It was here, that he met a young kickboxer with a 3-0 MMA record. Israel Adesanya was that kid.
before UFC 187, @bokamotoESPN and I flew to Blackzilians for a story on Rumble Johnson. at the time, he was prepping to fight Jon Jones
Henri Hooft flew out this kid (3-0 MMA) from New Zealand to mimick Jon in sparring sessions
— Phil Murphy (@Phil_Sports) April 11, 2019
Johnson’s coach Henri Hooft brought in Adesanya, to train with Johnson and mimic Jon’s style. This was long before Adesanya would debut in the UFC. According to Okamoto, not only did Israel spar with Johnson, but also with former champ Vitor Belfort.
In the video, you can see Israel Adesanya looking far more experienced than someone with only three pro fights would suggest. He lands some good shots on “Rumble” Johnson. At one point, Israel even has Johnson backed into the corner, landing several good shots on him. This is especially hard to believe, considering the sizable weight disparity between the two.
When looking at this weekend’s match-up between Israel Adesanya and Kelvin Gastelum, one might look at their records and see that Adesanya has more knockouts. However, Gastelum has largely been looked at as the one with the power. Either way, this weekend’s co-main event will be fireworks.