Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya on Saturday defeated his idol Anderson Silva at UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia.
Adesanya took out the 43-year-old UFC middleweight legend via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
It was three rounds of elite fighting, but more importantly elite entertainment for 15,238 people.
Adesanya was that tad bit quicker, as you’d expect from someone 14 years younger than the man across from him.
But it also became abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to knock out his Brazilian counterpart.
Silva dropped his hands on more than one occasion as if to say, ‘Is that all you’ve got?’, and despite Adesanya obliging with combination after combination; a rather swollen Silva proved too tough to knock down.
Silva claimed the leg kicks weren’t hurting him; the red on his lead thigh would suggest otherwise.
“It was just like fighting anyone else,” Adesanya said.
“But there were certain things that he was doing that I have seen so many times, that he has caught other people with, like with his hands down, the bounce, calling me on to the cage with his back against the fence, but not me.
“The energy was cool, it was an honour to share the space with him, I can’t describe it. As a kid, as a fan, it was cool, just cool. In the long-term, I am definitely getting the belt next.”
It was undoubtedly the biggest test of Adesanya’s UFC career. It only took until his fifth fight in the organisation to find someone who could actually keep up with him.
Adesanya had to overcome some surprise “Silva” chants booming out around Rod Laver as things got tight for the 29-year-old.
(Photos by Jasmin Frank, USA TODAY Sports)