AT UFC 234, we saw the passing of the torch from one MMA legend to his anointed one.
Anderson Silva, after losing via decision to Israel Adesanya was reported to have told his young opponent, “I pass the baton to you.”
Huge compliment coming from one of the greatest fighters in history. And an even bigger burden and responsibility for Adesanya.
We all know who Silva is and what he has accomplished. But who is Israel Adesanya?
ISRAEL. Originally from Nigeria, this 29-year-old middleweight now calls New Zealand his home.
His martial arts base is kickboxing and taekwondo, but he currently has a blue belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
His MMA record is 16-0 with 13 via the abbreviated route. On its face, it’s quite impressive but the similarity in style with Silva probably lies in his boxing skills.
At about the same time he began his MMA career, Adesanya also dabbled in boxing, entering two Super 8 boxing tournaments where he acquitted himself quite well against established veteran pros like Brian Minto and Daniel Ammann.
The skill sets of both fighters have similarities in terms of the stand-up game, and Adesanya also has the flair for the dramatics mid-fight, not unlike his idol, Silva.
However, Silva’s ground game is infinitely better and it’s too early to tell if Adesanya will indeed be a worthy successor.
One thing’s for sure though. If he is even at least half as entertaining as Silva on top of the cage, he will surely be a crowd-drawer.
SILVA. As for “The Spider” he wasn’t dominated or outclassed by Adesanya and he was in the thick of the fight. But ultimately, Father Time catches up with everyone and so we noticed his reflexes were slower, his activity and output, limited.
His fans can only hope he will ride off into the sunset quietly, but after that baton-passing dialogue, he was reportedly intent in finishing the few remaining fights left on his contract.
If that is so, let’s hope he doesn’t hurt himself and we will not get a repeat of that ghastly injury he suffered against Chris Weidman at UFC 168.
LAST ROUND. It’s on my favorite Judge, the wifey, Hon. Charina Navarro-Quijano who celebrates her birthday today. Thanks for the unconditional love, in spite of myself. Cheers!