The time has come for The Last Stylebender and The Spider to throw down, so with that in mind, here’s how we think it’s going to play out.
We’ve already delved into the possible reasons for Silva’s decision to fight a young, hungry contender at this point in his career.
Anderson himself has admitted that he is ‘too old for fighting’ and that he cannot hope to keep up with the athletically sharper athletes who are making their own rise through the sport.
And yet, here we are – faced with a matchup between two of the most exhilarating strikers, each with an opportunity to record a landmark win in their own respective careers.
Silva is a man who needs very little in the way of an introduction at this point. Perhaps the most creative and dynamic fighter the sport has ever seen, for years he ruled over the middleweight division – besting each and every one of the contenders to his throne during his prime.
Of course, he would eventually lose out to ‘The All American’ Chris Weidman but while it lasted, the Silva-era of the 185lb division showcased perhaps the finest example of an MMA striker that we have ever seen.
The heavily-favoured Israel Adesanya is the man with all of the momentum coming into this one.
As fluid as any stand-up artist in the game today, Adesanya really proved last year how smooth his transition to MMA has been – fighting off the wrestling of guys like Derek Brunson and Brad Tavares to maintain his perfect unbeaten record.
I think it’s safe to say that Stylebender should be favoured in this fight. The speed will certainly be on his side but on top of that, his in-octagon activity is not something that should be understated.
Anderson has not fought since February of 2017, a period of time in which Adesanya has competed six times – going 6-0. Even if he had a bit more recent action under his belt, it would be hard to side with the Brazilian in this fight.
In many ways, this is Israel’s fight to lose. Silva is still a dangerous fighter, make no mistake, but for a technician as skilled as Stylebender, this should be a relatively easy night at the office.
I think Adesanya catches him early after a quiet opening minute or so.
Silva is a notoriously slow starter and where their shared-opponent Derek Brunson is the type of fighter who would be more inclined to capitalise on that, expect Stylebender to bask in the moment he finally gets to fight his hero.
Things will look even and technical for a bit, but then Adesanya will close the show.
Prediction: Adesanya by first-round KO.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena