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UFC 234 fight card primer: Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva

Get up to date with the main event of UFC 234 this weekend between Israel Adesanya and Anderson Silva.

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MMA: UFC 230 - Brunson vs Adesanya Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

This Saturday night in the main event of UFC 234, breakout star Israel Adesanya (15-0 MMA; 4-0 UFC) will face former longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva (34-8, 1NC MMA; 17-4, 1NC UFC) in what promises to be a fascinating fight. Adesanya vs. Silva was elevated to main event from co-main event, as Robert Whittaker’s diagnosed hernia led to his middleweight title fight vs. Kelvin Gastelum being cancelled.

UFC 234 will air live from Melbourne, Australia this Saturday night, February 9th. The main card starts on PPV with a fight time of 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PT, with the ESPN prelims beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on and Fight Pass prelims showing from 6:30 p.m. ET.

How do these two stack up?

Adesanya: 29 years old | 6’3” | 80” reach
Silva: 43 years old | 6’1” | 77” reach

What have these two done recently?

Adesanya: W - Derek Brunson (TKO) | W - Brad Tavares (UD) | W - Marvin Vettori (SD)
Silva: W - Derek Brunson (UD) | L - Daniel Cormier (UD) | L - Michael Bisping (UD)

How did these two get here?

Since making his highly anticipated UFC debut in February last year, Israel Adesanya has gone on to improve every time he steps foot in the octagon. Cruising past Rob Wilkinson in that fight, many were quick to slate Adesanya’s skills following his split decision victory over Marvin Vettori. Those naysayers were silenced when “The Last Stylebender” shut down Brad Tavares in his fight after that, and he continued to impress last November with a flawless first-round knockout of Derek Brunson. Adesanya promises he will bring out the best in Silva at UFC 234, and many are favouring him to make it a perfect 5-0 start to his UFC career.

It will almost be two years to the date that Silva made his last UFC appearance when he fights Adesanya on Saturday night. That (controversial) decision win against Derek Brunson at UFC 208 was technically Silva’s first win in close to five years, losing fights to the likes of Daniel Cormier and Michael Bisping before the somewhat questionable win over Brunson. Although UFC president Dana White has labelled this a “number-one contender fight” at 185-pounds, the consensus is this will be one of, if not the last, fight of Silva’s UFC career.

Why should you care?

Despite Silva and Adesanya being at different ends of their careers, the stylistic matchup should hopefully mean this (emergency) main event lives up to its high expectations.