Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya
(USA TODAY Sports)

The legendary Anderson “The Spider” Silva, will have his hands full on February 9th. UFC 234 doesn’t scream ‘sexy’ when you take a look at the full fight card, but there are plenty of opportunities for interesting finishes.

Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya is one of those intriguing fights. It is fair to wonder though, why the UFC has a bad habit of throwing some of the most decorated and legendary fighters of the past in the octagon with some of the more dangerous fighters that are currently in their primes.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of this fight. Anderson Silva has even said it himself that he has nothing left to prove in the UFC and it’s true. I would rather see the UFC try to book Silva with another legend.

Likely, we’ll never see Silva in a dream match against Georges St. Pierre, but with this upcoming fight with the younger Adesanya, we could see a similar scenario of how the Fedor vs Bader fight ended from their Bellator event.

Does Silva have a chance? Of course, he has a chance, and I’m here to breakdown and grapple every scenario that I could think of that would end in a victory for the Spider, and for Adesanya.

Betting Odds

No matter what trusted betting site that you visit for sporting events, all of them have the 29-year-old as the heavy favorite. Picking the 43-year-old in a surprising victory here would be pretty ballsy. Then again should we all act surprised if the legend is able to pull off one more stop against the young buck?

Odds Shark has the line at -600 Adesanya and +450 for Silva. BOVADA, on the other hand, has the same +450 line for Silva, but a staggering -700 for Adesanya.

Anderson Silva has a huge library of wicked fights, exciting finishes, and numerous highlight reels. If you’re betting on Silva, depending on him to out-strike Adesanya is foolish. Silva will go down as one the greatest strikers in the MMA world, but at this point in his career, there’s no way he can stand toe-to-toe and outlast Adesanya.

For the heavy favorite here you’re probably expecting a quick finish. Adesanya knows that he can’t take Silva lightly either, but if he’s going to keep this fight on their feet then it could be a quick and punishing ending for Silva.

Whether this turns out to be a quick fight or a more lengthy bout, we should all expect everyone to be on their feet at UFC 234 after this bout. Adesanya, will either run through Silva in just his fifth fight in the UFC or Silva will prove to us once again why he deserves one more last title run to end his career.

Israel Adesanya

This man is exciting to watch. 2019 should be a huge year that eventually leads to a Middleweight championship fight for the “The Last Stylebender”. Do you want to talk about striking? According to FightMetric Adesanya has a 55% striking accuracy.

The Nigerian-born kick-boxer is currently 15-0 in MMA. 4-0 in the UFC and 13 of his wins have come by knockout. Silva has joked about how he’s going to finally feel like what it’s like to fight against his clone in the octagon.

Adesanya is more than just a clone though and there’s nobody more excited for this fight than himself. When asked about this fight, Silva joked that he didn’t know who Adesanya was. I think we can all agree that these are just mind games being played by the legend, but those remarks did not sit well with Adesanya.

While a sit-down interview with Stuff, Adesanya mentioned that if Anderson Silva didn’t know who he was, then he was basically sleeping. He also went on to say that for their upcoming fight, Silva will know exactly who he is after their bout.

As some of the older fans will say the “Black Dragon” is here to stay. Israel Adesanya has an interesting story and is a very interesting guy. He and his family made their journey to America in the early 2000’s but during the 2001 terror attacks in New York, his family had a change of plans.

Instead, they went to New Zealand, and that’s when Adesanya started to become more aware of the world around him and how different everything was. Adesanya wasn’t able to get along with all of his classmates early on, but one thing that he did find that he was good at was punishing the crap out of somebody in front of him.

After making his presence felt in the world of combat sports Adesanya and his family would then finally migrate to America. His skills would be tested in the octagon with tougher and more technical opponents.

The move to America was much more than just fighting for the Nigerian family. Adesanya knew that whatever degrees he would get in New Zealand, Ghana, or even in his home country on Nigeria that they would not mean much in the western world.

If that’s not enough motivation for you, or to even make you believe in this guy then I honestly don’t know what will. Not only is Adesanya in line for a Middleweight Championship bout, but he also has the opportunity to add the name of a legend to his resume. After that, he will look to challenge the winner of Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum.

Both happen to be on the same card. While Whittaker and Gastelum will have their hands full with each other, you can certainly bet that they’re going to have their eyes glues to Adesanya’s bout with Anderson Silva.

Anderson Silva

When you hear the name of Anderson Silva you think of his glory days in Pride and his early years in the UFC. From nearly knocking off Vitor Belfort’s head with a lethal kick and his long reign of dominance in his division. Silva went 16-0 before he hit a slump, thanks to Chris Weidman.

Silva was known for his long lengthy body. He was one of the most feared fighters when it came to striking. According to FightMetric Anderson Silva has a 63% striking accuracy. Just the way he would challenge his opponents to come at him, as he would put his hands behind his back and wait for the perfect time to strike back.

That hasn’t worked lately though for the Spider. Ever since his first bout with Chris Weidman back in 2013 he’s been figured out. His bobbing and weaving did not get him very far with a talented striker like Weidman at the time. If he attempts the same routine, which likely he will, then Adesanya will have him sleeping in no time.

The last six fights have been horrendous for the most part. Since 2013, Silva has a record of 1-5. I strongly believe that one of the reasons most people are skeptical on Silva lately and placing all their money of Adesanya is because it’s been over six long years since we’ve seen Anderson Silva convincingly win a fight.

We all know the story of how Silva went downhill after both of his fights with Chris Weidman. Shortly after making his recovery from his gruesome leg injury, Silva would be ruled a no-contest in his fight with Nick Diaz for testing positive for banned substances.

He made up for that letdown by literally taking up a fight with Daniel Cormier just days before UFC 200, but came up short in that performance as well. Finally in 2017 Silva was able to pick up a victory by decision over Derek Brunson, but would later go on to serve a year suspension by the UFC for more banned substances.

It’s been an up and down ride lately for the legend and he desperately needs a solid victory over a young guy coming in with quite the buzz like Israel Adesanya. One question we’ve all got to ask ourselves is how is his cardio and fighting shape in his current state.

Just like in the NFL, you can’t expect an older guy like Adrian Peterson, to serve a one-year suspension and expect him to come back and pick up where he left off a few years ago. Same logic goes for the older Silva. The experience and maturity will be there, but asking if this could finally be the last time we see Silva in the octagon at UFC 234 is a more realistic question.

If indeed, this is one of those last appearances that we see from Silva as a fighter, we just want to see him go out there and really leave it all out there in the cage. We all want to see the Spider push Adesanya as much as he can to test his limits.

Why Adesanya Wins

Adesanya wins because he’s in his prime. The man is on a hot streak right now and I don’t see anybody stopping him. At least not right now in the Middleweight division. As much as we love Anderson Silva, he’s no longer what he once was.

Silva’s last fight with Derek Brunson went the distance, and although Silva was victorious, some still question the outcome. On the other hand for Israel Adesanya, he completely demolished Brunson. I understand that each fight is different, and every fighter game plans differently with their camp for an upcoming fight, but both men handled the same opponent differently.

I believe that if you’re Adesanya you’ve got to have that killer mentality. You want to charge Silva and challenge him to see if he still has it. You know his chin is fragile now, and ending him in a dominant way will likely send the legend to retirement.

Adesanya isn’t known for his wrestling ability. He’s mainly known for his striking, but if he really wants to shock Silva and throw him off his game, then wrestling would be that number one factor. We’ve seen it several times in the past.

Silva isn’t great when it comes to defending takedowns or even trying to out-wrestle his opponent. Look at what Chael Sonnen and Daniel Cormier were able to accomplish in their fights with him.

If this was 2011 we’d all be shocked if Adesanya were able to knock out Silva, but in this case, it’s a very possible scenario. It would still be a very rich name added to his resume, but also the fight that pushes him to a championship fight which is the ultimate goal.

Why Silva Wins

If Anderson Silva were somehow to miraculous win this fight, it will be because of his experience and awareness in the octagon. We’ve seen occasions in which the hotter fighter is expected to win, but completely overlooks his opponent and is reminded of why you always need to respect your opponent.

The past six years have not been kind to Silva. At least not in the octagon. This is a man who has been laughed at lately and question by many, of whether he still has it or not. Silva knows that he’s the piece of meat being thrown to the lion in this fight, and with his mentality, it wouldn’t be shocking if he overcame it.

If I’m in Anderson’s shoes then getting into a boxing match with Adesanya is the last option on my list. I think Silva will try to play mind games, and go to his usual bob and weave taunting style. He won’t get away with that for long though.

He’s going to want to lure the younger Adesanya in and set him up for a few bombs coming up. Heck, Adesanya wrestling game isn’t that great either, although he’s been tough to take down lately. Silva could benefit a lot himself if he were to reverse his usual style and became more technical with his wrestling.

If this were the case then Adesanya is no longer worried about striking. He’s now thinking of whether to defend the takedown or keep this fight on his feet. Adesanya will also become more vulnerable to whatever Silva has in mind.

Let’s not get too crazy and pretend that we don’t know what Silva has accomplished. He was the longest reigning UFC Middleweight Champion for 2,475 days. A record that doesn’t look to be broken any time soon.

If Anderson Silva were to surprise the MMA world it’s because he wants to prove to everybody and Dana White that he never went away. Silva would prove to the world that he’s not some washed up legend with a dad-bod and that he still belongs in the Octagon fighting for a championship.

Prediction

Anderson Silva is a huge fan favorite, but I strongly believe that he comes up short against the younger and quicker Israel Adesanya. “The Lat Stylebender” will prove why he’s one of the next best things in the UFC. Adesanya wins by TKO in the second round.

Summary

No matter who you’re rooting for, we’re in for an exciting card of fights on February 9th. The co-main event may not live up to its hype, but there’s plenty of scenarios of how this fight could end up. While I do expect Adesanya to win this fight, I wouldn’t put it past Silva if he were the one with his hand-held high at the end.

If Silva were to win this fight, I do believe that we’d still be asking the same questions if he were to get a championship fight. There have been very few times in which Silva has been listed as the underdog, and he’s overcome expectations a few times.

Most of his career he’s been the favorite. For Adesanya, this is just another fight for him, except the stakes, are a little higher with a championship in favor of the winner. The fight in some ways is being sold as the future colliding with the past.

Reading a title like that does make sense, but the reality here is that when we look at what Silva has been through over the last few years, we’re quickly reminded of how harsh the world can come crashing down onto you, especially for legends like Fedor Emelianenko and Silva.

Fight fans should not blink for this fight next week. No matter how much older Silva is compared to Adesanya, he still the wiser fighter. I’d expect to have some great moments throughout the fight. Silva has been in huge fights himself, so he knows how to deal with all the criticism leading up to fight night.

He’s been in the main event at numerous UFC Pay Per Views while defending his title, so being in the spotlight yet again, is what the Spider loves. This could be the big break, the passing of the torch if you will for Adesanya. He’s yet to headline a UFC event, but for those who are not fully aware of who he is, his next fight will surely headline the next card he’s on.

Orlando Torres

Hello everybody my name is Orlando, my friends call me Lando for short. I love all kinds of sports and fantasy sports as well. I grew up watching the Spurs and Cowboys since I was a kid, so those are my teams. I love writing, video games, spending time with my son along with acting and films. Movie buff. Follow me on Twitter @itslandoyo

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