UFC Promised Middleweight Title Shot with Win Over Israel Adesanya

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Booking a 43-year-old Anderson
Silva
against rising star Israel
Adesanya
seemed like a cruel bit of matchmaking from the UFC,
but it seems that there was an added incentive for “The Spider” to
accept the bout.

“[UFC President Dana White] came to Los Angeles to talk to me,”
Silva said in an interview with
ESPN
. “I said to him, ‘Why am I going to take this fight?’ And
Dana said, ‘You know, you win this fight, you go to the title
belt.’ I said, ‘OK, now you are talking good business for me.'”

Silva hasn’t competed since he ended a five-bout winless streak
with a contentious decision win over Derek
Brunson
at UFC 208 in February 2017. He was slated to face
Kelvin
Gastelum
at UFC Fight Night 122 but was pulled from the fight
following a failed drug test. He was ultimately given a one-year
suspension by USADA for taking a contaminated supplement; Silva
previously failed multiple drug tests in relation to a UFC 183 bout
against Nick Diaz.

Adesanya has kicked off his professional tenure with 15 consecutive
triumphs, including four in the UFC. Most recently, the flashy
striker earned a first-round technical knockout win over Brunson at
UFC 230 on Nov. 3. “The Last Stylebender” has certainly caught
Silva’s attention.

“This is a great challenge for me,” Silva said. “My entire life,
since I started martial arts, I have taken the best challenge.
Israel is a young guy and the future of the sport. Everybody is
talking about Israel. I think this is the best fight in the
sport.”

Silva and Adesanya will square off at UFC 234 in Melbourne,
Australia on Feb. 9. The card is headlined by a middleweight
championship clash between Robert
Whittaker
and Gastelum.





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