A Violent Chess Match in Melbourne

MMA: UFC 234-Adesanya vs SilvaJust when things were getting going that old problem that the UFC has seen more often than anything else, came to be ready to ruin a fight card.

The middleweight division was about to get some answers at UFC 234 with Robert Whittaker defending his belt for the first time since June of last year.

He was set to take on Kelvin Gastelum but the morning of the fight the champion was rushed to the hospital with a hernia.

Emergency surgery solved his issues but cancelled the fight leaving the UFC without their main event on pay-per-view.

Injuries have been the Achilles Heel of the UFC  and of Whittaker as there is nothing that either can do about it other than to scramble to fix the issue.

The UFC has lost full fight cards due to injuries and has seen multiple big fights fall to the wayside thanks to a big name getting hurt.

It is part of the reason why so many divisions continue to be held up as champions and challengers alike have been unable to fight.

Whittaker is familiar with this as it seems like every fight has an injury attached to it although usually, it happens in the fight.

His last title defence resulted in a broken thumb and his fight before that against Luke Rockhold was cancelled due to an untreated staph infection.

This night was supposed to follow an early theme of the year as the UFC was beginning to get their divisions going once more.

His title fight against Gastelum was going to kickstart the division and take one challenger out while clearing the way for a new challenger.

Unfortunately, the division remains stuck as Whittaker was unable to fight and no title was on the line for the night.

Something was still going to be solved in the division though as the co-main event would take top billing and luckily for the UFC it was already a much-anticipated fight.

It was going to be a clash of the old and the new in the division with a legend taking on the breakthrough fighter of 2018.

Anderson Silva has done just about everything a fighter could do in one division as he remains one of the most dominant champions ever.

His reign of 2,457 days which included 11 title defences and 16 straight wins is still among the longest reigns in UFC history.

He will enter the UFC Hall of Fame in the most obvious of all votes as his name is among the building blocks of what the UFC is today.

That reign ended in 2013 when he lost to Chris Weidman and since then he has failed to reach the same status.

A mix of issues with steroid tests and age seemingly getting the best of him have kept him as a legend but not much else.

He was going to try to throw his name back into the mix in the middleweight division by beating one of the most exciting young fighters in the UFC.

Israel Adesanya was voted by many as the breakout fighter of the year in 2018 after adding up four wins in his first year in the UFC.mma-sidebar.fw

He earned two knockouts and three fight bonuses in that first year, putting his name on the map in the middleweight division.

His awkward kickboxing has helped him to thirteen straight wins, a win streak dating back to 2015.

He has yet to fight any really big names though as Derek Brunson was his biggest win and so he kicked off a new year with the biggest name he would face to this day.

Silva was a hero to Adesanya, much like many young fighters, and although Silva might not be the same fighter he was a decade ago he will always be a name.

A win against Silva would launch him into contention and build 2019 as a year where he could move towards and possibly get the title.

The fight was a perfect example of what happens when two similar fighters enter the octagon and look to get the advantage.

Neither fighter is necessarily the most aggressive as they instead tend to wait and launch counter attacks from just about anywhere.

This fight saw both look to do exactly that and although the action wasn’t constant it was a fantastic display of striking skill.

Throughout the fight, Adesanya was slowly gaining on the legend as Silva was waiting for the challenger to gain that confidence and come forward.

That never came though as Adesanya played it smart launching his attacks and landing plenty, eventually showing the damage on Silva’s face.

At the end of this violent chess match, it was Silva looking worse for wear and that was the story of the fight.

It wasn’t a dominant win by any stretch and Silva looked like his old self but it just wasn’t enough to beat the young up and comer.

Where Adesanya goes now is a massive question as Gastelum has claimed the title but hasn’t fought the champion.

The original main event will likely happen again sometime in the next few months and Adesanya may have to get one more fight in before taking a shot at the belt.



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