UFC 234:Israel Adesanya out swaggers Anderson Silva

Carla Harmon
February 11, 2019

UFC boss Dana White said Whittaker "had suffered a less than one per cent, freak, injury".

The entire mixed martial arts (MMA) universe was handed a shocking change when Robert Whittaker pulled out of his main event with Kelvin Gastelum at last night's (Feb. 9, 2019) UFC 234.

Israel Adesanya looked a bit star struck when he faced former middleweight champion and all-time great Anderson Silva, who he admitted to looking up to following their weigh-ins on Friday, however that did not deter the up and coming contender from out striking Silva en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Israel Adesanya punches Anderson Silva. White also said that had Whittaker fought, his medical issue could have been fatal.

The most risky moment for Adesanya came in the third round, when Silva launched into a flying knee attempt. He calmly touched him up with leg kicks and right hands, and avoided the big counter strike. The two athletes showed off an array of creative striking exchanges and ultimately the better of those went to the younger Adesanya.

Two judges scored the fight 30-27 to Adesanya and the third had it 29-28.

"If I'm playing basketball this is like playing Michael Jordan", he said.

Silva was declared victor by unanimous decision, but that was later overturned after he tested positive for drostanolone and androsterone.

But despite Gastelum's claims to the belt, UFC president Dana White told reporters that because of the relatively short recovery time needed following Whittaker's operation, the Australian would not be stripped of his world title.

The Australian crowd booed loudly at Adesanya's words towards the champion but he ultimately sent well wishes to Whittaker in his post fight speech.

According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, the middleweight champion has withdrawn from his title defence against Kelvin Gastelum, citing a hernia.

It is understood Whittaker started complaining to his coaching staff late on Saturday evening of pain in his abdomen. I was saying yesterday any odds makers that makes Anderson Silva 7-to-1 is out of their mind. "But Israel went in with a sold-out house tonight and a lot of pressure on him..."

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