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  • Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva share an embrace, after the formers' win over the Brazilian legend, at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia.

    Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva share an embrace, after the formers' win over the Brazilian legend, at UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia. | Photo: Reuters

Published 10 February 2019

UFC legend Anderson 'Spider' Silva main-evented UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia Saturday night, but was defeated by his protege, a man who says Silva is the; "Michael Jordan of the Octagon."

 

It was mentor vs. protege Saturday night in the Octagon as Brazilian legend Anderson Silva main-evented UFC 234 against Nigerian sensation Israel Adesanya.

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The long-awaited showdown between master and student wasn't supposed to main-event at all, but a late hernia injury to Middleweight Champion, and hometown hero, Robert Whittaker, meant that his title defence against Mexican-American Kelvin Gastelum was postponed. 

That fazed neither Silva nor Adesanya, who delivered a masterclass, not only in venomous strikes, but in the art of taunting. 

Silva's classic ability to absorb punches, seemingly without reaction, was once again put on display to the crowd in the Rod Laver Arena in the southeastern coast of Australia. And, at times, the 29-year-old Adesanya matched the showmanship of his 43-year-old senior. While 'Spider' stood and smiled after taking three devastating punches to the jaw, 'The Last Stylebender' shimmied, shucking and jiving, all-the-while egging on the Brazilian legend.

Ultimately, it was the younger of the two who came out on top. Adesanya, now 16-0 in his professional Ultimate Fighting career, scoring with cleaner strikes and surely now moving onto a bout with Champion Whittaker. 

After the fight, both men extended their respect, with Adesanya admitting; "This is crazy. This is like for a kid - if I'm playing basketball, like playing Michael Jordan." Player one had the controller. Anderson, thank you. Obrigado, my friend. You've been doing this for a long time. I appreciate you."

Silva claimed he'd continue on, despite the defeat, telling Joe Rogan, "I love my job. This game is tough, but this is my heart, and my life, and I will continue."

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