Anderson Silva return from two years off to face the fastest-rising star in MMA when he met Israel Adesanya in the main event of last night’s (Sat., February 9, 2019) UFC 234 from Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Most, including the sportsbooks, had Adesanya as an overwhelming favorite. Many more were picking him to easily knock out the aging legend and send ‘The Spider’ into retirement. While they were ultimately right in that ‘The Last Stylebender” would win, it was much closer than nearly everyone expected.
The result was a close, technical affair high on entertainment where both men had their moments. Adesanya had more of them when it was over with, but Silva more than held his own.
It all began with some trademark flash from Adesanya:
The fighters then met in an intense staredown in the center of the Octagon:
‘The Stylebender’s’ laser-like striking became apparent early when he hit ‘The Spider’ with an accurate knee and punch in the first round:
But Silva was up to his old tricks soon thereafter, using his confusing defense to wow the crowd:
The two striking masters showed off some of the unique showmanship that defines so much fo their styles:
In the third, ‘The Spider’ tried to goad Adesanya into a clinch fight near the cage wall in a classic move:
Both are obviously know for their flashy striking so they of course took turns throwing wild kicks at each other:
The fight ended and the two exciting competitors met in a genuine embrace in the cage:
Adesanya won in the end but the fans were the true winners.
Silva Didn’t Really Lose Much
Silva’s status shouldn’t take much of a hit as a result. He came off of a two-year stay on the bench to go the distance with one of the most dangerous fighters in the world right now.
Adesanya could be ready for a title shot. That picture got quite a bit more confusing when Robert Whittaker was forced out of UFC 234 yesterday. Kelvin Gastelum could still receive his title bout. Adesanya may have to fight again if he does.
As for Silva, he may be 43, but he’s clearly not done. And he gave fans a heaping dose of remembering why he’s one of the UFC’s most beloved athletes.