Silva Passes Torch To Adesanya At UFC 234

Robert Gullo, Staff Writer

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Ultimate Fighting Championship 234’s main event took a whole 360 after it was announced that current Middleweight champion Robert Whittaker would be out of his title fight against challenger Kelvin Gastelum after suffering a hernia-related injury.

With that fight off, Middleweights Anderson Silva (arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time) versus Israel Adesanya (one of the best young stars in the UFC who resembles Silva’s fight style) became the new main event.

As expected, Adesanya shined, landing more than twice as many significant strikes as Silva (65-31) and won via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-29, 30-27), improving to 16-0 (5-0 in the UFC.) Adesanya, who is only 29, used his youth to his advantage. He was the more active fighter, controlling the pace and constantly moving forward in front of Silva. He threw more strikes, was more efficient and landed the cleaner shots being quick and aggressive.

On the other hand, the fight was closer than expected, with Silva lasting all three rounds and also landing his fair share of strikes, particularly in the second, where he became most aggressive. In a competitive technical back-and-forth Muay Thai-styled fight, it was Adesanya who did more, landing all three of the judges’ nods.

Many saw this as a “passing the torch fight” in which we witnessed the rise of Adesanya and the last days of legend, Silva.

At age 43, Silva has been fighting in the UFC since 2006 and won his first 16 fights, which is still a record for most consecutive wins.

His 49-second debut fight earned him a title shot against then-champion, Rich Franklin, who he knocked out with a series of elbows and knees in the first round.

From there on out, Silva dominated the Middleweight division holding the longest reign of any champion in the UFC, along with many other records accumulating over time.

His seven-year reign came to an end when he faced Chris Weidman on July 6, 2013, in a match where Silva’s cockiness and taunting caused him to be unconscious on the canvas after Weidman knocked him out in the second round. After that fight, Silva never returned to full form, accumulating four losses in his next five bouts.

Adesanya, on the other hand, is an undefeated rising star in the UFC. He has compiled five victories in exactly 364 days in the UFC in which he dominated and looked near-perfect in each fight.

He has stated multiple times that Silva is one of his biggest idols and that he recalls watching Silva’s fights on DVD’s growing up and having that be part of his motivation getting into mixed martial arts.

Many analysts and fans compare Adesanya to Silva, pretty much referring to him as a young Silva. Their fighting style is very similar in which both are Muay Thai practitioners and rely heavily on their stand-up game with their precise counter strikes, which include elbows, knees and clinching.

It was announced that the winner of the fight would get a title shot against the winner of Whittaker-Gastelum, but since that fight did not happen, it is unclear who will get the next title shot.

Whittaker may be cleared to fight in as early as four weeks from now and many are wondering who the fight would be against. If not Gastelum, then I would say Adesanya, but he may have to wait his turn after Gastelum.

For Silva, he hinted at fighting one more bout in his hometown of Curitiba, Brazil and having it possibly be against Nick Diaz.