Silva's UFC return ends in defeat to Adesanya after Whittaker withdrawal

Anderson Silva was making his first appearance since 2017 but the 43-year-old Brazilian suffered a unanimous defeat to Israel Adesanya.

Israel Adesanya lands a blow to the head of Anderson Silva at UFC 234   -  Getty Images

Anderson Silva's long-awaited return to the octagon did not go according to plan after the MMA legend was beaten by Israel Adesanya at UFC 234.

Silva was making his first appearance since 2017 – a milestone that brought the 43-year-old Brazilian icon to tears on the eve of the bout.

But Silva, who held the middleweight title for seven years between 2006 and 2013, suffered an unanimous defeat to Adesanya in Melbourne on Sunday.

 

The middleweight bout became the new main event at Rod Laver Arena after a severe abdominal injury forced champion Robert Whittaker to withdraw from his showdown against Kelvin Gastelum just hours before the fight.

And Adesanya was too good for Silva after the judges scored the fight 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 as the undefeated Nigerian-New Zealander improved to 16-0.

"This is like, for a kid, if I played basketball against Michael Jordan. This is it for me," Adesanya said.

"I do this s*** for real, and I do it against the best. Crazy week. I showed up to work, a lot of people didn’t. It’s out of their hands, you know, sometimes it’s not in their control.

"But, hey, Player one has the controller, so I showed up. Anderson, thank you. You've been doing this for a long time my friend, I appreciate you."

Lando Vannata, Ricky Simon, Montana De La Rosa and Jimmy Crute were also victorious on the main card.