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Fight: Israel Adesanya vs Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva was a formidable champion in the UFC, winning fights at his natural weight division of middleweight and destroying opponents outside of that if he felt like it. If you turned on one of his fights, you were guaranteed: Silva would add to his collection of highlights – he didn’t know how to fight boringly or strategically.

A bit of history

After three times he lost, there was no doubt: Anderson Silva is the greatest. He was bigger than any fighter of his generation, so he had some hard falls: first, he thought that he would never be knocked out, and then he broke his leg really bad against a block. And after that, when it seemed like nothing could stop him – well…he got caught doping!

Talk of the greatest fighter of all time has died down. Drostanolone in Anderson’s sample nullified 18 years of an incredible career: 10 successful UFC title defenses, the longest winning streak in the promotion’s history, destroying Vitor Belfort, humiliating Forrest Griffin and choking Chael Sonnen at the end of a clean loss.

Anderson Silva was pulled from the card, according to UFC President Dana White. ‘Supernatural’ made headlines for his participation on Comic-Con panels and after falling out of a taxi with Adesanya on Tuesday.

The UFC said the fight was more like student-teacher. Adesanya grew up on Silva’s fights, parsed his technique and wanted to be like his hero. But he wasn’t going to feel sorry for Silva: “Many UFC fans were not yet interested in the sport when Anderson ruled it.”

A lot of people came into the Ronda Rousey and Conor McGregor era and don’t understand what this guy is all about. But Silva got me into this game. He inspired me and made me believe that a black skinny guy can go into the cage and demolish anyone. Anderson got me into this game, and now I’ll be honored to take him out of it.”

The significance of the fight

This fight was supposed to be the second biggest at UFC 234, but it was as much anticipated as the main fight. Robert Whittaker had a herniated disc and he needed an operation, so the Adesanya vs. Silva fight became the main event.

Of course, Silva is no longer the same. He has lost his speed and against fighters like Israel he is unable to counter-attack suddenly and sharply. Because of this, he had to attack himself which mean he has to be quick and risky. In one such bout with Israel’s Roy Jones Jr., Silva nearly ended up on the floor after catching a right from Roy Jones Jr.

The fight

Anderson was going to die. But Silva fought hard and had a really good fight with Adesanya. Silva and Adesanya moved in strange ways, hit each other, dodged attacks. There were even moments when they said “let me try one move!” or did weak fighting moves from games like Mortal Kombat. Only the fighters were really fighting hard and hitting each other hard.

The 43-year-old Silva is still cool enough to show the trademark “Matrix”: dodging punches so they fly millimetres from his face. He’s good enough to hit unexpectedly and hard. But the 29-year-old Adesanya was still much better. The bout went three rounds, but contained events for a couple of five-rounds – the kind you want to watch endlessly. The bonus from the UFC for the fight of the evening is legitimate.

Bottom line

At the end of the fight, the two fighters kneeled down in front of each other. After the fight, Israel and Anderson embraced for a long time. “You’re the real man,” said Adesanya. “I still remember watching your fights on DVDs when I was little.” But then he said that because you’re taking drostanolone, your legacy is gone – you will no longer be called the greatest fighter. But it is cool that guys like me can watch your old fights and learn from them – isn’t that sporting immortality?

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