A middleweight fight between an icon and one of the division’s future stars is heading to Australia.
Former champion Anderson Silva and rising star Israel Adesanya have verbally agreed to face each other at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia.
MMA Fighting confirmed an initial report by ESPN.
Adesanya (15-0), a multiple-time kickboxing champion, is coming off a violent first-round finish over Derek Brunson at UFC 230 earlier this month. This victory not only kept the New Zealand native’s perfect record intact but marked his 13th victory by KO/TKO. Prior to that performance, Adesanya picked up wins over Brad Tavares, Marvin Vettori and Rob Wilkinson.
To date, “The Last Stylebender” has earned a Performance of the Night bonus in three of his four wins under the UFC banner.
Silva (34-8, 1 NC), who is widely considered one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, has not competed since his victory over Brunson at UFC 208 in Feb. 2017. That performance got “The Spider” back into the win column after dropping a decision to two-division champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 in July 2016.
Since then, Silva has been forced to watch from the sidelines following a one-year suspension, retroactive to Nov. 2017, he received from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency after they determined his latest drug test failure stemmed from a tainted supplement. If they had not made such a determination, Silva faced a potential four-year ban due to his previous failed drug test in 2015.
The Brazilian holds several UFC records, including the longest win streak in UFC history (16), which included a middleweight title reign of 2,457 days, as well as the most finishes in UFC title fights (9), total knockdowns (17) and overall wins in UFC middleweight history (13).
UFC 234 will go down on Feb. 10 inside the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
A middleweight title fight between reigning champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum will serve as the main event. No other bouts have been confirmed.