UFC 234 took a last minute hit with the withdrawal of middleweight champion Robert Whittaker last night. “Bobby Knuckles” was scheduled to headline the event against Kelvin Gastelum until last night’s news.
With a hernia sidelining Whittaker, Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya were bumped to the main event slot. The former champion Silva has tasted brutal defeats and injuries since his epic winning streak ended against Chris Weidman it’s been an emotional week for him.
Adesanya is at the opposite end of his career, with a red hot streak and the salivating prospect of a title fight on the line. Many expected this fight to be like something out of an anime movie. Anderson Silva entered the arena to a cheer of applause and a standing ovation. His 23rd appearance and 20th main event slot, it was a special occasion for sure.
The first round was cagy, Silva was wobbled by a clean left straight by Adesanya in the southpaw stance. Aside from that, it was all about the feints from Israel bringing the openings from Silva. 10-9 Adesanya round one. Better round for Anderson in the second but he is getting clipped with his hands down again. Israel knows it’s a fight now, narrowly I would give this round 10-9 to Silva for aggression and octagon control.
Round three was all Adesanya, he dropped Silva to the mat for a split second with a hard leg kick. Adesanya just landing the cleaner more effective striking here. I’d give this one 10-9, 29-28 overall to Adesanya. Here is Anderson’s Matrix Highlight: