FightPost MMA Fighter of the Week: Anderson Silva
By Keith Neill
While it was Israel Adesanya who deservedly took home the W in the makeshift main event at UFC 234 this past Saturday it was a living legend who was the main story of the week for me.
Ending with the last word, the classic ‘Adrian!’ line from Rocky, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva shined throughout fight week with his playful and emotional character outside the cage matched by his trademark unpredictable feints and distractions on display inside the octagon.
Silva had broken into tears at the weigh-ins, apparently overcome by the emotion of his return and was shown the warmth and respect of fans and fellow fighters which reminded us why he is so revered in the sport.
A man of the people and an idol for many it was The Spider who ensured that the UFC pay-per-view in Melbourne wouldn’t go without a worthy main event despite the collapse of the title fight between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Adesanya played his part, an equally worthy foil to the legend. The two similarly eccentric strikers gave us a display of flashy kicks, sublime movement and respectful in-cage banter that earned the ooh’s and aah’s of an entranced Aussie crowd.
Silva’s last UFC outing was a hotly debated victory over Derek Brunson way back in 2017 but he was able to show he still has a lot to offer as he took Adesanya to a decision and was more than a match for the rising star through all three rounds though ‘The Last Stylebender’s’ aggression and output would earn him the win in the end.
A fight that was heralded as a passing of the torch from old to young, one in which Adesanya was heavily favoured to stop the wily veteran, became a celebration of all that Silva has given to MMA and his influence on the next generation of world-class strikers in the UFC.