Adesanya vs Silva is the Right Fight
Featured Image Credit: MMA Junkie
It was recently announced by a number of sources that Anderson Silva will return to the Octagon to face Middleweight prospect/contender Israel Adesanya. “The Spider” has not fought in nearly two years, and will be days shy of a year layoff at UFC 234 in February. “The Last Stylebender,” however, has been extremely active, fighting 4 times in 2018, winning all of them with 2 finishes, most recently over Derek Brunson. Many critics are saying this is a dangerous fight for an aging Silva and criticize the UFC and Dana White for condemning Chuck Liddell’s fight while announcing this one in the same breath. HOWEVER, this is truly the fight to make for both parties.
For Silva, this fight can show the world he is still a world beater. He beat Derek Brunson in his last fight, but that was nearly two years ago. While Brunson has remained a top figure in the division, it has been clearly shown he is not a true title contender. Adesanya, however, has shown he is a legit fighter who can have a long career at the top of 185, showing off elite striking and strong grappling defense thus far in his young UFC career. Silva needs this win if he ever wants to get back to the top of the mountain. He has said publicly that he was promised a title shot if he beats Adesanya, and I don’t hate that idea. If “The Spider” can show that he is truly back, and he would have to be to beat a striking phenom like Adesanya, I do not mind at all if the UFC books him against the winner of Gastelum and Whittaker. His fights left are numbered, so let’s make them count, and if somehow he manages to regain his Middleweight title, he will make the GOAT argument extremely difficult.
For Adesanya, everything he does is right, showing a development in his skills throughout 2018. He came into the UFC and won his debut with a second round KO. He followed that up by immediately fighting a good grappler, a stylistic “nightmare,” but still finding the decision win. This showed he is more well-rounded than most thought. Then he fought a tough Brad Tavares. He went 5 full rounds in a main event fight, landing nearly 3 strikes to 1, and stuffed 11 of 12 takedown attempts from Tavares. While it was not a finish, it showed he is capable of going the distance in a championship-length fight and that he is not scared of the bright lights: he thrives off of them. Then, to wrap up his 2018, he knocked out Derek Brunson in the first round. He has shown that he is a problem and is more than capable of keeping a fight on the feet as seen with his takedown defense in the UFC. He turned down being the replacement fighter in the Gastelum/Whittaker fight, saying he was “not ready.” Honestly, it makes a lot of sense. He has been in the organization for less than a year, and he may feel that he truly is not ready for that kind of spotlight. Anderson Silva can get him ready for that. Silva is a legend in the sport, a former champion, and one of the best fighters ever. Another good performance against Silva will prove both to Adesanya and the world that he is one of 185’s elite and his time is truly now. He has been calculated in his rise, and this is just another step in that journey. Also, Adesanya best reminds me of a prime Anderson Silva, remodeled for 2018 MMA, so this could also be a passing of the guard or sorts. Finally, when looking back on his legacy, a win over one of the GOATs doesn’t look bad if he hopes to be one himself.
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