Aotearoa’s very own UFC champion superstar Israel Adesanya joined the NZ Warriors for a bit of a wrestle during the team’s latest training session.
Izzy was wearing a Warriors jersey throughout the session, during which he gave them some wrestling pointers. Not for actual wrestling though, rather the technique used in MMA helps rugby league players manoeuvre tackles.
Fellow Kiwi UFC fighter Kai Kara France is one of the team’s official wrestling coaches and good mates with Izzy due to both of them being part of City Kickboxing gym.
“Coach Kai Kara France with an all-time ‘bring your mate to wrestle day’ flex,” the Warriors said in an Instagram video showing Izzy being introduced to the team.
Freddy Lussick, the Warriors’ hooker, said the whole team was surprised when the UFC middleweight champion walked in.
“That was pretty surreal,” Lussick told Newshub. “It definitely caught us all off guard, we had no idea that he was coming in.”
“He wanted to come train with us and see what it was about. It was an awesome experience to have him around."
Captain Tohu Harris was the first player to take Izzy on in a wrestle and said he felt helpless, but it was a mean opportunity.
“I had no chance in hell of getting him down,” he admitted. “I got mangled up there a couple of times but it was fun, it was a good experience.”
"Being able to go up against someone that high level in their field, it's always a good experience. I hope he gets to come back and towel a few of us up again."
We’ll see if Adesanya’s wrestling tips helped the Warriors out this Saturday when they play the fourth-placed Brisbane Broncos at Napier’s McLean Park. The fellas had a bye last round and won their game against the Bulldogs the week before that.