Always give the credit where it is due.
Australian fans are just four days away from witnessing the biggest UFC event in the country in four years since Holly Holm dealt Ronda Rousey her first career loss in 2015.
On February 10, the Rod Laver Arena, the home of the Australian Open, will play host to UFC 234, which will be headlined by the country’s very own, Robert Whittaker, opposite Kevin Gastelum.
UFC’s MMA event in Melbourne was reportedly sold out just minutes after it was put on sale.
For this feat, Nigerian-born Kiwi fighter Israel Adesanya, who will be on the main card, believes that the credit should go to his fight with MMA legend Anderson Silva, not to the main event bout.
The Past vs The Future
Following a first-round technical knockout of Derek Brunson at UFC 230, rising star Israel Adesanya was booked for UFC 234 to take on MMA legend and returning Anderson Silva.
The Kiwi mixed martial artist has kept his unbeaten record intact since making his debut in February 2018.
Brunson, who is in the top 10 of the division’s ranking, was considered as the biggest test to Adesanya so far, but the MMA prospect proved to be too much for the more experienced fighter.
Not to take away anything from Brunson, Adesanya said that his performance at UFC 230 was far from his A-game.
For him, it was just a B minus.
Now fans are expecting the “Last Stylebender” to put up his 100% as he is slated to go up against a fighter who has an elite stand-up game and exceptional finishing ability like him.
Fans and pundits alike believe that Adesanya has the DNA to become a future champion.
In fact, it only took him four fights to turn himself from a prospect to a legit contender.
While Israel enjoys the limelight, fans cannot help but notice his similarities with “The Spider” – from his great striking prowess to his devil-may-care attitude inside the cage and his uncanny ability to finish opponents.
But the Brazilian himself dismissed the comparison, insisting that Adesanya is not his clone.
“I think Israel is a great fighter.”
“But he is not my clone. He’s not a better version of me.”
“I’m very lucky to have this opportunity in my life to fight a young talent that people say is a better version of me.
“But I think the fight is very interesting because I believe this is the first time I have an opponent with the same style.”
Taking The Credit
Now the stage is set for what many called as a clash between the past legend and the future champion.
Adesanya and Silva will lock horns in the co-main event of the UFC 234, and they have to do it in front of thousands of fans at Rod Laver Arena.
Two months before the iteration of UFC’s first pay-per-view event in 2019, UFC Senior Vice President International and Content, David Shaw, confirmed that the tickets for the MMA show were already sold out in minutes.
“Melbourne has proven once again why it is known as the sports capital of Australia, if not the world.”
“In 2015 we smashed records with our debut event in Victoria UFC 193: Rousey vs Holm, and now we are thrilled to see continued success in selling out UFC 234: Whittaker vs Gastelum in record time.
“With what will be an exceptional fight card and Australia’s Robert Whittaker defending his UFC middleweight belt for the first time on home soil, UFC 234 will be an unmissable event.”
But Adesanya claimed that it was his fight with Silva that prompted fans to watch UFC 234 live. (via ESPN)
“I’m just going to do me, and Whittaker, that’s his Christmas gift for the next five years; [it’s] me being on this card with Anderson that made the show sell out in 15 minutes.”
“This show wouldn’t have sold out the way it did without me and Anderson, so he’s [Whittaker] welcome.”
“He gets the pay-per-view points, he gets the accolades and what not. And yeah, good for him, he knows what’s up, even he knows it. So he can enjoy it for the next ten years.”
Check out the full line-up for Sunday’s UFC 234 in Melbourne:
Main event – Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum
Co-main event – Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya
Rani Yahya vs Ricky Simon
Montana De La Rosa vs Nadia Kassem
Jim Crute vs Sam Alvey
Devonte Smith vs Dong Hyun Ma
Shane Young vs Austin Arnett
Kai Kara France vs Raulian Paiva
Teruto Ishihara vs Kyung Ho Kang
Lando Vannata vs Marcos Mariano
Jalin Turner vs Callan Potter
Wuliji Buren vs Jonathan Martinez
Jim Crute vs Ryan Spann
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Israel Adesanya and Twitter/MMA Boon)