Why Adesanya vs Silva Makes Sense
By Calum Christie
In the era of super fights and creating superstars many organisations are quick to push through emerging talent and rush them into championship fights – this doesn’t seem to be the case for the ‘Last Style Bender’ Israel Adesanya (15-0) who looks set to face future UFC hall of famer Anderson Silva (34-8) at UFC 234 on February 10th in Melbourne, Australia. This potential booking has seen mixed responses online, so here’s my reasons as to why this bout makes sense.
The best part of a fighters journey is to see the rise from contender to champion, this is where you build an understanding of the fighters style and personality and enjoy watching them rise through the ranks.
We have witnessed that in 2018 with a breakout year for Adesanya, who is 4-0 inside the UFC and is coming off an impressive TKO 1st round victory against a very experienced Derek Brunson (18-7) at MSG on the main card of UFC 230 where he earned himself a Performance of the Night bonus and made a statement that he could already make the step up to challenge for a world title.
Many fans wanted him to fight for the 185lbs strap next after the Robert Whittaker (20-4) and Kelvin Gastelum (15-3) title fight or even slot into co-main event slot in a number one contender bout against Jacaré Souza (26-6) at UFC 234 but the UFC look set to book him against the former middleweight champion Anderson Silva upon his return from his one-year USADA suspension due to a tainted supplement.
The UFC have already been stung this year by pushing a fighter too quickly into a title contest. Look no further than UFC Beijing main event winner Francis Ngannou (12-3) who potentially had one of the biggest pushes in the modern UFC heavyweight division era but that hype train was quickly derailed once Stipe Miocic (18-3) was able to come away with a convincing decision victory which showed a lot of gaping holes in ‘The Predators’ game. The UFC have most likely learned from that error and don’t want to make the same mistake with Israel but instead want to take a more measured approach and allow him to develop and gain experience inside the octagon.
Another reason that the Anderson Silva fight makes sense is down to the fan base that ‘The Spider’ still has in MMA. You could still ask a causal fan of mixed martial arts who Israel Adesanya is and they may not recognise the name or watched him compete – but one thing is for sure Anderson Silva was once regarded as the greatest professional mixed martial artist of all time by fans and his peers and one thing is for sure he has a worldwide fan base.
If The Last Style Bender can put a solid and flashy performance on against Silva then Israel will take some of that stock from the 43-year-old and will help him become an even bigger superstar within the UFC and globally. This in turn will lead to more exposure when it comes to making that big number one contender matchup or Championship bout.
And finally, your hear the cliché all the time with commentators when they say that ‘styles make fights’ but it’s certainly the case for this one. Stylistically if vintage Anderson Silva shows up and puts on a striking clinic with his Muay Thai, boxing and taekwondo skills along with Israel Adesanya extensive kickboxing experience then it could be one of the highest quality of striking seen in a UFC Middleweight contest to date and again referring back to stock and gaining exposure we all know as MMA fans the one thing that gets us on the edge of our seats is great fighting, and we can be sure of that with these two locked inside the octagon.
Overall I think there is a lot to gain from this matchup between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva. The number 1 contender matchups and championship matches are still going to be there for the Last Style Bender if he keeps performing at the same level he has been. Let’s just call it a speed bump, albeit a very decorated speed bump in the form of Anderson Silva in Adesanya’s road to glory.