During the fight itself, Anderson Silva threw all of the devilish tricks he is renowned for, into the pot, but in the end, Israel Adesanya proved himself to be quite the student of the fight game, and quite befitting of his nickname: The Last Stylebender.
The most risky moment for Adesanya came in the third round, when Silva launched into a flying knee attempt.
The three judges scored the fight 29-28, 30-27 and 30-27 and it was deemed the Fight of the Night, with both men earning a US$50,000 bonus.
UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was expected to defend his title against Kelvin Gastelum in the main event of UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia on Saturday night. It's one of those situations, had it popped up during the fight it could have been fatal for him so this is really serious.
And with a 16-0 MMA record, including five wins in the UFC in 12 months, Adesanya could end up being the best by the end of 2019.
"This is like, for a kid, if I played basketball against Michael Jordan". "Crazy week. I showed up to work, a lot of people didn't even though it's out of their hands".
But a patient Adesanya, who like his opponent, also displayed some showboating, dominated the third, peppering the Brazilian's face with punches as the veteran sometimes held his hands low.
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Whittaker's manager Titus Day said the champion first reported some issues around 6pm on Saturday.
"Rob heal up quick, Kelvin put that belt down, seriously", Adesanya said with a laugh from the crowd.
Earlier in the week UFC President Dana White confirmed that the victor of the bout would be next in line for a middleweight title shot, however with Whittaker's withdrawal, Adesanya will likely have to wait for the dust to settle between Gastelum and Whittaker.
When asked if the company would return to New Zealand either this year or in 2020, White said the success of the Kiwi athletes made the decision an easy one.
Earlier this week, White had said the winners of the Whittaker-Gastelum and Adesanya-Silva fights would meet later this year. "This is my heart".
Gastelum borrowed the belt of flyweight champion Henry Cerjudo, who attended the show.
"I think it's a very interesting fight, because the last fight was a no contest".
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