UFC 234 Betting Preview: How Much Does Anderson Silva Have Left in His Tank?
Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Anderson Silva (red gloves).
- Israel Adesanya (-670) and Anderson Silva (+485) meet in the co-main event of UFC 234. “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya hopes to continue his path towards superstardom with a victory over legendary “The Spider” Silva.
- A bantamweight bout between Ricky Simón (-120) and Rani Yahya (+100) provides the best betting opportunity of the night.
UFC 234 betting odds: Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva
- Israel Adesanya: -670
- Anderson Silva: +485
- Time: Approx. 11:30 p.m. ET
- Channel: PPV
UFC 234 is essentially a two-fight card. Almost all its appeal comes from the main and co-main events as the UFC has designed the event as a showcase for the champion and next challenger in the middleweight division.
“The Last Stylebender” Israel Adesanya
It’s easy to see why the UFC has high hopes for Adesanya. The consensus 2018 breakout fighter of the year came into the UFC with a world class striking background, amassing a 75-5-1 record as a kick-boxer between 2011 – 2017. In 2018, Adesanya joined the UFC and reeled off four increasingly-impressive victories in a row.
As expected, Adesanya’s striking prowess has been impressive since his debut. Izzy has out-struck his opponent in all four of his UFC bouts to the tune of 241 significant strikes landed against 111 significant strikes absorbed. He’s also finished two of his four opponents via strikes.
The Nigerian-born Adesanya has displayed increased grappling ability with each UFC bout. “The Last Stylebender” was taken down three times in his first UFC bout, twice in his second bout, once in this third bout, and wasn’t taken down at all in his most recent UFC fight.
Anderson “The Spider” Silva
Standing opposite of Adesanya will be the most accomplished middleweight in the history of mixed martial arts, Anderson “The Spider” Silva.
The Brazilian is a surefire Hall of Famer whose records include: longest win streak in UFC history (16), longest title reign in UFC history (2457 days), and the most finishes (11) and wins (13) in the history of the middleweight division.
Silva built his legacy on precise counter-striking and an ability to make his opponents look helpless inside the Octagon. In recent years however, Silva’s UFC career has been anything but legendary. “The Spider” is currently on a 1-4 (1 NC) run.
This is Silva’s first fight since his suspension in fall 2017 for violating the UFC’s anti-doping policy. In July 2018 USADA announced the policy violation was due to contaminated supplements and Silva received a retroactive one-year suspension.
Both fighters make great use of all the striking tools at their disposal: punches, elbows, knees, and kicks. They’re comfortable in all phases of the game: at range, in the pocket, and in the clinch.
Offensively, Adesanya is comfortable moving both backwards and forwards and considers himself “bistantial.” Silva’s career has been defined by his preference for counter-striking.
Against willing opponents like Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar, Silva has looked like he’s operating in the matrix. Against less obliging opponents such as Thales Leites and Demian Maia, fans have witnessed Silva put on disinterested and at times bizarre performances.
Both fighters are highly-skilled defensively but their willingness to exchange means that they are often there to be hit cleanly. Adesanya was knocked out once in his kickboxing career (via left hook in 2017), but has yet to show any durability issues in the UFC despite being hit cleanly in multiple fights.
Silva was nearly invincible during his title run, but in recent years has demonstrated worrying durability issues. He’s been knocked down three times in his past six fights and was out-landed 308-265 in significant strikes over that span.
Silva used to make his opponents look hapless with his taunting inside the cage, but age and punishment have made “The Spider” far less elusive than he was in his prime.
Silva is the more highly-credentialed grappler (he is a third-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu while Adesanya is just a blue belt), but inside the cage both men have used their grappling primarily to stay on the feet.
Adesanya has never attempted a takedown in the UFC and Silva only averages 0.55 takedowns/15 minutes of fight time. Silva has multiple submission victories in the UFC, but they’ve primarily come off his back.
On the feet, Silva’s Muay Thai clinch was revolutionary against the likes of Rich Franklin circa 2006. Since then the game has caught up to Silva and, arguably, passed him by.
In Silva’s most recent fight against Derek Brunson, “The Spider” absorbed a ton of clean shots in the clinch. It’s worth noting that Brunson was unable to muster any offensive in the clinch against Adesanya in “The Last Stylebender’s” most recent bout.