‘Anderson Silva loses to Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision.’ To anybody who didn’t watch this fight live, those words would serve as further evidence that Silva has nothing left to offer the sport of MMA. However, in real time, many fans felt the fight between Silva and Adesanya lived up to the hype. All parties involved seemed to take positives away from the fight
How it Affected the UFC
For the UFC, Adesanya winning was an ideal outcome. As beloved as Silva is to his fans, he’s going to be 44-years-old in April. In all likelihood, he doesn’t have much time left to compete. Israel Adesanya on the other hand, is 29-years-old. He shows tremendous promise as a fighter and as a personality. The type of charisma he can bring to an interview is exactly what has proven to draw a large American audience. Moreover, he has roots in both Nigeria and New Zealand—two potential markets for the UFC to explore.
Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum
For Adesanya, Silva was both a learning experience, and a coming out party. In the public eye, Adesanya has nearly graduated from prospect to prodigy. Suddenly, he’s booked to face Kelvin Gastelum for an interim title at UFC 236. It seems strange that the kick boxer turned mixed martial artist is fighting for a belt just one year into his UFC tenure. But the ‘Last Style Bender’ has been called to the front of the line.
Meanwhile, Anderson Silva left Australia with a much-needed rush of life injected into his career. In going three full rounds, Silva showed the fans that he could still strike with the best in the world. His chin held up against Adesanya’s punches and he provided spectators with the Matrix-like movements that helped make him so famous in the first place. Despite being the far more seasoned grappler, Silva never once went for the takedown. Instead, he and Adesanya, each confident in their own striking prowess, did what they do best. And the fans in attendance seemingly loved it.
This fight helped to remind onlookers just how good Anderson Silva always was. As time moves forward, it’s easy to dismiss championship runs of the past. After all, the fighters of yesteryear will always grow older and eventually succumb to the inevitable invasion of a new generation. But even after all these years, Silva remains something of an enigma. Even in losing, his opponents often become engrossed in his combative mysticism.
Although his record for UFC title defenses (10) was broken by Demetrious Johnson (11), it’s hard to argue his impact feels any less indelible. Besides, Silva’s title-defense record was marred by Travis Lutter missing weight in what should have been their title fight. This of course would have increased his record to 11 title defenses. Silva also moved up 20 pounds and finished three different light heavyweights, including a former champion eight months removed from being champion during his reign over the middleweight division.
UFC 237 Fight
At any rate, father time is closing in on Anderson Silva. Unsurprisingly, the former middleweight champion is putting up a bigger fight than most could. In fact, Silva is now booked to face middleweight up-and-comer, Jared Cannonier at the May 11th, 2019 UFC 237 card in Curitiba, Brazil. Many members of the MMA community were surprised by this pairing. It’s not necessarily a bad match up. Cannonier has decent hands, and that plays right into Silva’s striking game. It just wasn’t a fight fans had been clamoring for. It’s not the legend fight you would expect for a fighter at such a late stage in his career.
Silva wanted to fight at UFC 237. Seeing as he’s always such a welcomed addition to a card in Brazil, it’s no surprise the UFC acted. The promotion needed to strike while the iron was hot, and the mallet came down with a quickness.
Each Man’s Journey
As Silva continues is descension towards the bottom of the mountain, where his journey once began, Israel Adesanya continues upward in search of new heights. Though Silva and Adesanya have parted ways, by moving in opposite directions, there are many bits of history strewn throughout the path they share. And though the moment has passed, and the hike will eventually run its course for both, nobody will ever forget the time that Anderson Silva encountered Israel Adesanya.
Embed from Getty Images