As the eyes of the combat sports world were on Israel Adesanya knocking down Robert Whittaker in the UFC Octagon, a passionate celebration was going on behind closed doors.
Deep in the belly of Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium, Adesanya’s City Kickboxing teammates were jumping and screaming for joy in a dark room, in front of a TV, that may as well have been a world away from the more than 57,000 fans inside the stadium.
Adesanya knocked out Whittaker in the second round on Sunday to claim the Australian fighter’s UFC Middleweight Championship belt.
In a video posted by Auckland’s City Kickboxing, Adesanya’s teammates can be seen watching the main event at UFC 243 from the team dressing room.
City Kickboxing, who have been taking the UFC by storm, picked up three wins from as many fights on Sunday at UFC 243 to advance their UFC gym fight record to 20-1 since the start of 2018.
As Adesanya knocked Whittaker down in the second round, the dressing room turned to chaos.
“People asking why we are so successful………here’s one reason in this video, we ‘ride or die for each other’,” City Kickboxing posted under the video on social media.
Following every fight, Adesanya makes a point of thanking his teammates and City Kickboxing family who help him prepare for the fight in training and sparing.
Israel Adesanya defeats Robert Whittaker in the second round of their UFC 243 bout to become the undisputed middleweight champion.
Dan Hooker, who just minutes earlier delivered what was arguably a career-best performance to beat American Al Iaquinta, was already on his feet when Adesanya knocked Whittaker down.
An emotional Hooker can be seen jumping up and down uncontrollably before copying Adesanya’s post-fight celebrations and embracing Brad Riddell.
Also celebrating was two-time King in the Ring winner and UFC hopeful Carlos Ulberg and City Kickboxing trainer Doug Viney.
Earlier in the night Riddell, who can be seen in the video leaping to his feet and screaming in delight with his arms raised as Adesanya becomes the undisputed middleweight king, won his UFC debut in a fight of the night performance against Australian Jamie Mullarkey.
Ironically, the UFC posted a similar reaction video following Riddell’s fight where Adesanya, Hooker and City Kickboxing trainers and members of Adesanya’s corner Tristram Apikitoa and Mike Angove are all screaming their support for Riddell at the TV screen.