Anderson Silva may not be the same force of nature he once was, but he still has plenty of gas left in his tank.
On Saturday night, the Brazilian MMA legend returned to the Octagon after almost two years of hiatus.
He was last seen in February 2017 when he eked out a hard-earned unanimous decision victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208.
In what could be that most exciting pairing at UFC, Silva was scheduled to lock horns with the fighter called as his clone.
“The Spider” put up an epic performance at the UFC 234 main event against Israel Adesanya and it was not just the fans who were all praises for the MMA legend but also the former two-division champion, Conor McGregor.
Israel Adesanya defeats his idol, 43-year-old Anderson Silva, at #UFC234
"This is like, for kids in basketball, to play against Michael Jordan" pic.twitter.com/Y4dEckLfeQ
— Bleacher Report MMA (@BR_MMA) February 10, 2019
The Nevada-based promotion headed to Melbourne, Australia on Saturday night for its first pay-per-view offering this year.
The Rod Laver Arena played host to UFC 234, which was supposed to be headlined by Australia’s very own Robert Whittaker against his American challenger, Kevin Gastelum.
With its local hero pulling out from the fight due to injury, the middleweight showdown between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva has been moved to headline the event.
Both fighters defeated the middleweight contender Derek Brunson in their last outings but the returning Brazilian has yet to see actions since February 2017.
Meanwhile, the streaking Kiwi fighter has been perfect in four bouts since making his debut early last year.
However, getting his fifth consecutive win will not be a walk in the park as he will be facing a former champion, who boasts an elite stand-up game and exceptional finishing ability like him.
Throughout his career, Anderson Silva always tried to put on a show. He didn't just want to win. He wanted to win in spectacular fashion. He risked it all to give us a show. Tomorrow he takes on a young and hungry fighter that wants to take it all. pic.twitter.com/6vrELzSVAE
— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) February 9, 2019
When the dust settled, it was the younger fighter who came out on top.
The returning Brazilian lost to Adesanya via unanimous decision, 27-30, 27-30, and 28-29 in judges’ scorecards.
But despite the loss, Silva caught the eyes of MMA fans and pros alike after he displayed his vintage form to hang with the Kiwi fighter in three pulsating rounds.
— Ace (@AceninjaNZL) February 10, 2019
And even Conor McGregor could not help but sing praises to “The Spider” for turning back the clock at UFC 234.
“The Notorious” has taken to Twitter to pay tribute to Silva after his entertaining scrap with Adesanya.
“Anderson is one crafty, crafty Martial Artist. You only develop these methods through years of hard-fought experience. Phenomenal performance. The crafty veteran. Big respect always. It would be an honour!”
Anderson is one crafty, crafty Martial Artist.
You only develop these methods through years of hard fought experience.
The crafty veteran. Big respect always.
It would be an honor!
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Check out the full result of the UFC 234 fight card below:
Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva by unanimous decision
Lando Vannata def. Marcos Mariano via first-round submission (armbar)
Ricky Simon def. Rani Yahya via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem via second-round submission (armbar)
Jimmy Crute def. Sam Alvey via first-round TKO (strikes)
Preliminary Card (ESPN)
Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma by TKO at 3:53 of round 1: Lightweight
Shane Young def. Austin Arnett by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Featherweight
Kai Kara-France def. Raulian Paiva by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Flyweight
Kyung Ho Kang def. Teruto Ishihara by technical submission (RNC) at 3:59 of round 1: Bantamweight
Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter by KO at :53 of round 1: Lightweight
Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren by decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Bantamweight
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Conor McGregor and UFC/Twitter)