Undefeated middle-weight Israel Adesanya stepped into the main event spotlight and claimed the biggest scalp of his mixed martial arts career with a unanimous decision victory over Anderson Silva at UFC 234. No, it wasn't the man he defeated twice before.
'I tried my best I was fighting with the doctors the whole way, up until they said you'll have to get surgery or you'll lose part of your bowel and it will be potentially fatal'.
Entering the fight, fans and pundits alike considered Adesanya to be a better version of Silva due to some similarities in their fighting style.
The influences Silva has had on Adesanya were clear during the fight, with similarities between the approaches of the two obvious to see. Light heavyweight Jimmy Crute scored a controversial TKO win against American Sam Alvey, despite Alvey furiously protesting the referee's decision to end the fight early as he insisted his thumbs were up while Crute was ground-and-pounding him.
Earlier in the week UFC President Dana White confirmed that the victor of the bout would be next in line for a middleweight title shot, however with Whittaker's withdrawal, Adesanya will likely have to wait for the dust to settle between Gastelum and Whittaker.
By round two, though, Silva began to mount a more effective offence and it quickly turned into a wild back-and-forth battle with both fighters using a range of unorthodox techniques, including high kicks and spinning attacks.More news: French 'yellow vest' protester loses fingers in violent clashes
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There are a total of five fights on the main card.
"This is like if I played basketball and I played Michael Jordan", Adesanya said in tribute to Silva following the bout. But Adesayna, now 16-0, dominated the third for a unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 as per the judges' cards.
"Then, after he heals up, maybe I can give him a crack at my title". This is one obstacle that I've jumped. Whittaker underwent emergency surgery Sunday. "This is it for me", he said.
However, the champion posted a video on Instagram which suggested the injury was extremely serious.
"Rob heal up quick, Kelvin put that belt down, seriously", Adesanya said with a laugh from the crowd. "It really does. And it makes it easier for me to try even harder next time, to get in there and to put my soul on bare and put on a good show for you guys". Adesanya sidestepped the blow, however, and went back to work.