As it turns out, Anderson Silva still has something left in the tank, but it's not enough to outrun Israel Adesanya. The Last Stylebender was victorious over The Spider via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 234 from Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday.
The 43-year-old Silva came in as a sizable underdog based on his age, long layoff since his last bout (February 2017) and recent performances, but he dug deep to challenge the 29-year-old striker at times. What was expected to be a sacrifice to a rising star quickly became a competitive fight when Silva blitzed Adesanya and earned a 10-9 score to take a round on one judge's card.
However, Adesanya consistently held the upper hand in the striking exchanges. His ability to pick away at Silva with his jab and leg kicks disrupted his opponent's rhythm, even if he couldn't finish the job with a submission or knockout.
It was an exciting, fun affair to end an entertaining night of fights.
- Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Lando Vannata def. Marcos Mariano via sub (kimura) (R1, 4:55)
- Ricky Simon def. Rani Yahya via unanimous decision(30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
- Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem via sub (armbar) (R2, 2:37)
- Jim Crute def. Sam Alvey via first-round TKO (2:49)
- Devonte Smith def. Dong Hyun Ma via first-round TKO (3:53)
- Shane Young def. Austin Arnett via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Kai Kara-France def. Raulian Paiva via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)
- Kyung Ho Kang def. Teruto Ishihara via submission (RNC) (R1, 3:59)
- Jalin Turner def. Callan Potter via first-round KO (0:53)
- Jonathan Martinez def. Wuliji Buren via UD (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Mariano
Lando Vannata was given the opportunity to participate in a co-main event during a UFC pay-per-view because of Robert Whittaker's last-minute withdrawal. It didn't take long for him to take advantage of the opportunity, though.
He made short work of UFC debutant Marcos Mariano with a submission win by kimura to pick up his second UFC victory.
Vannata's bout was originally scheduled to be a Fight Pass prelim. As good as the performance was, the decision to move it up the card was perplexing. Vannata's UFC record is just 2-3-2, while Mariano's record outside the UFC was 6-4.
Regardless, this fight at least served the purpose of getting fans to the main event quickly.
Ricky Simon vs. Rani Yahya
Ricky Simon was simply too quick for Rani Yahya. That was the difference in a fun bout that saw Simon take a decision.
Yanya—who had won three consecutive fights by submission leading into this bout—was constantly looking to close the distance and work the ground game, but Simon was having none of that. He was either nowhere to be found for a surging Yahya or landing a lightning-quick strike.
It wasn't all smooth sailing. Yahya landed a right hand that nearly changed the fight. But Simon showed exceptional toughness to come back from that to take over the rest of the matchup.
This win should give Simon a little more credence in the bantamweight division. He's now 3-0 in the UFC, but his other two victories were far from notable. A decision over Montel Jackson and a submission win over Merab Dvalishvili won't get you far in the rankings.
A win over Yahya will have matchmakers taking notice.
Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem
Nadia Kassem's five-fight unbeaten streak to start her career ended Saturday as Montana De La Rosa secured a second-round submission victory.
De La Rosa got off to a strong start on the feet in the early going. Her ability to swarm her foe and close off distance were difficult for Kassem to handle. She then showcased her ability to control an opponent on the ground for the rest of the frame.
In the second round, the ground disparity was even more apparent.
De La Rosa took down Kassem, transitioned to multiple dominant positions and submission attempts. Eventually, she locked in the armbar. De La Rosa has quietly become one of the few fighters to string a few wins together in the women's flyweight division.
Jimmy Crute vs. Sam Alvey
Jimmy Crute gave the Australian crowd the start to the main card they were hoping for. Taking on a grizzled veteran in Alvey, he landed a well-timed right hand that sent Alvey to the mat and nearly ended the fight.
Instead, Crute walked away and waited for a stoppage, which gave Alvey an opportunity to come to his senses. Fortunately for Crute, he jumped back on his opponent and drew a contested stoppage a few moments later.
Alvey wasn't happy with referee Marc Goddard's decision to end the bout. However, Crute did a good job of showing a killer instinct after his attempted walk-off extended the matchup.
The win moves Crute's record to a perfect 10-0. A victory over Alvey gives him credibility and makes worth keeping an eye on.
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