Israel Adesanya Earns Unanimous Decision Over Anderson Silva in Dazzling Main Event
Israel Adesanya may not receive a title shot in his next fight but he did manage to beat a legend in the UFC 234 main event on Saturday night from Australia.
Adesanya and Silva were thrown into the headline spot after middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was forced to undergo an emergency surgery for a hernia that put him out of his scheduled title defense against Kelvin Gastelum.
With hours to go until the event, Adesanya and Silva were shifted into the headline spot and still managed put on a quite a show over three rounds.
While Adesanya was a massive favorite going into the fight, he definitely had respect for a fighter he admired long before he ever got to the UFC.
Adesanya was definitely in control of the striking exchanges over the course of all three rounds but he also ate a few shots from Silva when the former middleweight champion saw the opening to return fire.
— UFC (@ufc) February 10, 2019
Silva managed to showcase some of his signature defense several times in the fight as he ducked and dodged out of the way of Adesanya’s kicks but still couldn’t put together the kind of combinations he needed to do as much damage offensively.
When Silva did plow forward a few times in the fight, he did tag Adesanya with some stiff punches but the former kickboxer turned mixed martial artist was able to shrug them off and reset in the center of the cage.
— UFC (@ufc) February 10, 2019
With time ticking away in the final round, Silva was content to stand against the cage wall and invite Adesanya to come after him, which probably didn’t help him on the judges’ scorecards.
Adesanya didn’t knock Silva down over the course of three rounds but he definitely landed more significant strikes when it came to his offensive output.
Many believed Silva was outmatched and perhaps age would finally catch up to the legendary former champion but to his credit, he took Adesanya’s best shots and returned fire on more than a few occasions to make a strong showing.
When the fight ended, the judges scored the fight 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 all in favor of Adesanya, who moves to 16-0 in his career with a perfect 5-0 resume in the UFC.
“If I’m playing basketball to play against Michael Jordan, this is it for me,” Adesanya said after facing one of his idols in Silva. “Crazy week. I showed up to work, a lot of people didn’t even though it’s out of their hands. Sometimes it’s not in your control. Player one has the controller and I showed up.”
As much as he may have taken a slight dig at Whittaker, who was forced out of the main event, he still sent well wishes to the middleweight champion after his fight.
Adesanya also took a dig at Gastelum, who was walking around UFC 234 with a title on his shoulder while proclaiming himself the real middleweight champion.
“Rob heal up quick, Kelvin put that belt down, seriously,” Adesanya said with a laugh from the crowd.
At 43, Silva is obviously on the back side of his career but he’s far from finished based on his performance on Saturday night and he’s already looking forward to his next fight.
“I love my job,” Silva said following the fight. “This is my heart. This is my life. I continue to fight because this is my home.
“I try to fight in Curitiba, my city. I’m going to go back to training, go back to see my family and maybe I fight in Curitiba.”