With a chance to defeat one of the best fighters of all time later tonight (Sat., Feb. 9, 2019) at UFC 234 live on pay-per-view (PPV) from inside Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, middleweight sensation Israel Adesanya is hoping to send Brazilian legend Anderson Silva off in fashion.
Silva, who remains the most dominant champion in UFC middleweight history, is making his first trek to the Octagon in two whole years. It’s a long layoff for any fighter, let alone a 43-year-old veteran who has won just one fight since 2012.
Still, Adesanya isn’t overlooking “Spider” entering tonight’s co-main event at UFC 234. With the opportunity to lock down the biggest victory of his career, Adesanya is preparing for the best Anderson Silva possible.
“I’ve seen the odds this week and I’m like y’all musta forgot, like Roy Jones said. Y’all musta forgot, you don’t know that man over there, Anderson Silva,” Adesanya told reporters earlier this week at UFC 234’s pre-fight press conference (h/t MMA Fighting). “I think a lot of you new fans weren’t around during his reign, what it felt like. You might have come around the (Ronda) Rousey era or the (Conor) McGregor era, but you don’t realize who this guy is.”
Adesanya, who has drawn countless comparisons to Silva since his UFC debut one year ago, credits the Brazilian as an early influence in his career.
“He brought me into this game,” Adesanya said. “This guy inspired me to believe a skinny black guy can just come in here and (expletive) everyone out. He brought me into this game and for me it’ll be an honor to take him out the game.”
If “Last Stylebender” is able to dispose of Silva tonight at UFC 234 then he would have done enough over the past 12 months to lock down his first UFC title shot. For Adesanya, that title shot is an inevitability in 2019.
“The cat’s out the bag,” he said. “I’m about to be champion 2019.”
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 234 fight card, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.