Nigeria’s Israel Adesanya has defeated his idol and future hall-of-famer Anderson Silva in Melbourne, Australia at UFC 234 (Ultimate Fighting Championship) on Saturday.
All three judges scored the contest to the New Zealand-based Adesanya, who improved his MMA record to 15-0, against Silva, 14 years his senior.
In an evenly matched fight over the first two rounds, Adesayna landed the first blow – an outside kick to Silva’s leg – then followed it up with a kick to his opponent’s right thigh, but Silva fought back with two shots to Adesayna’s chin. Despite the late flurry, Adesayna appeared to have marginally taken the first round.
Silva appeared to have won the second round, and chants for the Brazilian went up in the crowd to start the third and final round. But Adesayna dominated the third for a unanimous decision, 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 as per the judges’ cards.
After the fight, Silva was heard saying to Adesanya: “I pass the baton on to you.”
“I’m very happy, guys. Thank you God, for giving me one more chance to come here and do my best. I love my job,” Silva said at ringside during the presentations.
Adesanya is considered one of the UFC’s most high-profile title contenders , with a spectacular fighting style that reminds many of the 43-year-old Silva in his prime.