Israel Adesanya Out Strikes Anderson Silva in Impromptu UFC 234 Main Event

UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw from Sunday's bout due to a hernia

STUFFUFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw from Sunday's bout due to a hernia

The UFC will stage its first pay-per-view of 2019 from Australia, and fight fans at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne - home of the Australian Open - will see two massive middleweight matchups. The final scorecards read 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28, all in Adesanya's favor.

Robert Whittaker has not fought since June of 2018, when he engaged in his second five-round war with the behemoth Yoel Romero.

In a fight many believe will be Anderson Silva's last hurrah at the pro level, Israel Adesanya conquered his childhood idol by unanimous decision.

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Adesanya, 29, was 14 years younger than Silva (43) and it showed. He calmly touched him up with leg kicks and right hands, and avoided the big counter strike. Light heavyweight Jimmy Crute scored a controversial TKO win against American Sam Alvey, despite Alvey furiously protesting the referee's decision to end the fight early as he insisted his thumbs were up while Crute was ground-and-pounding him.

"This is like, if I'm playing basketball, to play against Michael Jordan".

"I love my job". Silva waited patiently for opportunities to counter, but he wasn't able to return to his glory days when he won 16 bouts in a row and was unbeaten for almost a decade. "This is my heart. I continue to fight because this is my heart".

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Cook had 13 points, five rebounds and three assists in the first half, staking Iowa to a 46-36 halftime lead. His presence inside was crucial as starting center Luka Garza was out most of the game with foul trouble.

He also managed to take a shot at top ranked contender Kelvin Gastelum, who was walking around with a title on his shoulder all night while proclaiming that he was the new middleweight champion by default since Whittaker failed to compete on Saturday night. Whittaker was forced to pull out of the bout Saturday due to emergency surgery on his bowel and abdomen. There is no timetable for his return.

Silva's performance in his first fight in two years was enough to impress even former two-division champion Conor McGregor, who took to Twitter to rave about Silva and intimate he'd be interested in fighting him.

The most risky moment for Adesanya came in the third round, when Silva launched into a flying knee attempt. Every time Silva managed to force Adesanya to back up, he did his best work in the fight. It is his fifth win in the UFC, all of which have come in the past 12 months.

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