Israel Adesanya
The Style Bender
Faces down a legend in the main event of UFC 234
MiddleweightUFC
February 9, 2019
Adesanya defeated Anderson Silva via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27. 30-27) at UFC 234 on Saturday in Melbourne.
ANALYSIS
Adesanya had a little bit more trouble than expected with Silva, but he ended up pulling out the decision. He did a good job of leading in the striking against the legend, but he also ate some strikes. In the first and third rounds, Adesanya was clearly the better striker, but the second round was somewhat close. When it was all said and done, the two men each took home $50,000 Fight of the Night bonuses for the show they put on. With the victory, Adesanya put himself in position for a middleweight title shot. The UFC will likely try to remake the fight between champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, but Adesanya should likely get the next opportunity.
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Gets UFC legend in February
MiddleweightUFC
November 25, 2018
Adesanya will take on Anderson Silva in a middleweight matchup at UFC 234 on Feb. 9 in Melbourne, Australia, Brett Okamoto of ESPN reports.
ANALYSIS
It was previously reported that Adesanya had declined an opportunity to serve as an alternate for this card's main event: a matchup between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum for the middleweight title. Adesanya now has an official fight on the card, though if anything were to happen to either combatant in the main event, he would likely be the promotion's first choice as a replacement. Assuming he takes on Silva as planned, Adesanya would be in line to enter as a large betting favorite. He's 14 years younger than "The Spider" and would seemingly have a large speed advantage. Silva has long been thought of as one of the most unique and diverse strikers in the promotion, but he's 43 years old and has been on the sidelines for over a year while serving a USADA suspension. The UFC is clearly looking to showcase Adesanya here, and if he cashes in a big performance like he's expected to, there's a good chance he draws the winner of the Whittaker vs. Gastelum matchup in his next trip to the cage.
Declines lucrative opportunity
MiddleweightUFC
November 19, 2018
Adesanya was offered a spot as the back up for February's middleweight title fight between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234, but ultimately declined, Christopher Reive of the New Zealand Herald reports.
ANALYSIS
Adesanya instead intends to compete in a middleweight title eliminator fight this year, but likely won't disclose the opponent until the ink hits the paper. Adesanya is one of the hottest fighters in the sport at the moment, riding a four-fight winning streak with recent victories over higher-ranked opponents in Derek Brunson and Brad Tavares. While known for his unique and diverse striking, Adesanya impressed his last time out by stuffing all seven of Brunson's takedown attempts. While Adesanya's next opponent has yet to be announced, the only top-10 UFC middleweights coming off wins and without a fight currently scheduled are Jacare Souza and Paulo Costa. Costa was once scheduled to fight Yoel Romero and the UFC may still try to make that matchup, however. Luke Rockhold also represents an intriguing opponent, though it's unclear when he'll be recovered from the undisclosed injury that forced his withdrawal from UFC 230.
Destroys Derek Brunson to remain undefeated
MiddleweightUFC
November 3, 2018
Adesanya defeated Derek Brunson via TKO (punches) at 4:51 of Round 1 at UFC 230 on Saturday in New York City.
ANALYSIS
Facing the best opponent of his career, Adesanya passed the test with flying colors. "The Last Stylebender" shut down all seven of Brunson's takedown attempts before unleashing a perfectly placed knee to Brunson's face and following that up with countless perfectly placed strikes. Adesanya's striking game is ridiculously strong and innovative and he answered the concerns about his wrestling in this one. You don't want to hang the "future champion" tag on a guy with limited experience, but Adesanya has that look. He is now 15-0 in his professional career with 13 of those wins coming via knockout.
To fight Derek Brunson at UFC 230
MiddleweightUFC
August 3, 2018
Adesanya will fight Derek Brunson at UFC 230 on Nov. 3 at Madison Square Garden, Shaun Al-Shatti of MMAFighting.com reports.
ANALYSIS
Adesanya, who holds an undefeated 14-0 record, has secured victories during each of his first three UFC bouts. He defeated Rob Wilkinson, Marvin Vettori and pulled a one-sided decision victory over Brad Tavares in July during The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale. Adesanya's opponent, Brunson (18-6) most recently lost to former Strikeforce champion Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza following a two-fight win streak.
Rises to the occasion and dominates Brad Tavares in the main event of the TUF 27 Finale
MiddleweightUFC
July 6, 2018
Adesanya defeated Brad Tavares via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 50-45) at the TUF 27 Finale on Friday in Las Vegas.
ANALYSIS
Adesanya lived up to expectations and dominated Tavares in the main event of the TUF 27 Finale. He showed off his trademark striking. He scored with punches, elbows, knees and kicks. Perhaps that most impressive aspect of his performance was his defensive clinch work and defensive wrestling. He was only taken down once, and he was able to escape the clinch without absorbing damage on multiple occasions. He can still improve in these areas. There are better wrestlers out there than Tavares. However, he passed all tests and looks to be a legitimate prospect.