Israel Adesanya Did Enough to Get Past a Dangerous Anderson Silva in Melbourne, Australia at UFC 234… Will This Be Enough to Earn the Rising Star a Title Shot?
Israel Adesanya is the name on the lips of UFC fans right now. He’s been given a massive promotional push by the UFC and no wonder. He’s a superb unbeaten stand-up martial artist, who knows how to use social media properly. Those two things combined make him a marketable commodity.
The Nigerian-born New Zealander took on Brazilian middleweight legend Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 234 after Robert Whittaker v Kelvin Gastelum was pulled at the last minute. Silva is the greatest 185lber in the history of the sport, and both men were promised a title shot if they won.
This was an entertaining fight, with moments for both men. They poured on the showboating, as the 43-year-old Silva proved that he’s still able to give anybody in his division a fight.
That hurt him!
— UFC (@ufc) February 10, 2019
‘The Last Stylebender’ and ‘The Spider’ are two of the slickest fighters in MMA. Silva during his heyday was an absolute phenomenon. However, many fans were worried that he was basically being sacrificed by the UFC so that Adesanya would have his name on his win record. While the younger man got the win, it wasn’t quite as emphatic as he might have liked.
Round one was quite cagey as both men showed each other respect. Adesanya clearly had respect for Silva’s hands because he didn’t want to get too close to the Brazilian. His output was higher, and with Silva typically keeping his hands down, it was a close win for the rising star.
Tem que respeitar… 👏🕸
— ◉ J ◉ (@1tweetqualquer) February 10, 2019
Despite being the main event, this was only a three-round fight because the two men had already signed the co-main event contract. It’s a pity because if it went deeper, we could have seen some carnage. Silva had his moments in the second round, landing some shots on the counter. He walked through Adesanya’s shots and towards the end of the round had the prospect on the back foot.
In many people’s eyes, it was even going into the final round. The leg kicks were the real difference here, with Silva’s thigh visibly swollen and slowing him down. He ate three shots to the face like they were nothing and continued to style with the Stylebender. The Australian fans chanted his name, but in the end, it was Adesanya who would win a unanimous decision.
— UFC (@ufc) February 10, 2019
After Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw from his fight with Kelvin Gastelum at the last minute, it will be very interesting to see what happens next in the middleweight division. Although Gastelum is walking around with a belt on his shoulder, claiming to be the de facto champion, we all know the UFC isn’t just going to hand it to him.
If Whittaker is able to return within a couple of months, then it’s probable that the UFC will just rebook the fight against Gastelum. However, if it’s longer than that we could see a Gastelum v Adesanya interim title fight, or even the Australian champion stripped. Stranger things have happened.