With UFC 233
cancelled postponed, the next UFC pay-per-view is UFC 234 on Saturday February 9th in Melbourne, Australia. Headlining that fight is a solid match-up between Aussie champ Robert Whittaker and challenger Kelvin Gastelum. Also on a lot of fans’ radars: a legend vs. prospect fight between Anderson Silva and Israel Adesanya.
Adesanya is the new hotness, while many think Anderson may be old and busted. That certainly seems to be the opinion of Israel’s striking coach Eugene Bareman.
“They’re on two different levels,” Bareman said in a Adesanya video blog (via MMA Junkie). “Israel’s a highly refined specialist at what he does. Anderson’s been doing MMA for most of his life, but that’s what makes it so interesting. It’s not a striking fight. In a striking fight it wouldn’t be a competition. It’s an MMA fight, which is like the great equalizer so to speak. That’s what makes it an interesting contest. It’s not a striking fight; it’s an MMA fight and has all those other aspects.”
“In a striking fight, the casual fan is definitely not going to agree with me,” he continued. “But that’s why they’re a casual fan. A striking match is not a competition with Israel Adesanya. His pedigree is much higher, and he’s a more high-caliber fighter. But this is an MMA fight, and that makes it more interesting. It makes the playing field more even, and that’s what makes it such an interesting fight.”
Who knows, maybe this is some 4D chess attempting to convince Anderson Silva he needs to stay standing with Adesanya to prove a point. We’re not 100% sure we’re willing to agree that Israel is better than Anderson on the feet, even with the advantage of youth. But we’re sure “The Spider” has a way better ground game, one Adesanya doesn’t particularly want to test.
That reluctance to get into it on the ground has led “The Stylebender” to work real hard on his takedown defense, and there’s a good chance Silva couldn’t take this thing down even if he tried. It’s clear what the UFC and Adesanya want: a stand up war that gives them a clear new #1 contender. Now we just have to see whether Silva has enough left in the tank to spoils things by winning.