Expat Whanganui fighter's Israel Adesanya's ascension to becoming the new face of MMA has motivated, but not surprised, his long-time supporters, including his old sparring partner.

Whanganui's former New Zealand kickboxing champion Kyle Gallacher was among the contingent of friends and family who joined the record 57,000 plus fans at Melbourne's Marvel Stadium to watch Adesanya (18-0) drop Kiwi-born Aussie Robert Whittaker (25-5) in the second round to lift the UFC Middleweight championship and unify it with his interim title.

Seated on ground level not far from the cage, Gallacher agreed the charismatic Adesanya had put in a complete performance

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