UFC 234 Preview: Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya
By: Jesse Donathan
Anderson Silva is a great fighter, an icon of the sport whose legacy is forever cemented in the hallowed halls of mixed martial arts greats. Before there was Conor McGregor, before there was Ronda Rousey, there was “The Spider” Anderson Silva. A fighter who Chris Leben famously promised to send back to Japan where the competition was easier, Silva went from being a Pride FC fighter that the UFC was going to make an example out of to enhance their own brand to the sport’s biggest star. Anderson is still an elite fighter with the ability to finish virtually anyone in the UFC middleweight division even at the age of 43, nearly 44 as of April 14th of this year 2019. Whether or not Silva can turn back the clock and defeat a fighter some 14 years his junior and considered a virtual clone if not in fact a better striker than himself in Israel Adesanya is the million-dollar question.
At one point, Silva (34-8-0) went a remarkable 16-0 in the UFC, snatching the title from the well-respected former middleweight champion Rich Franklin. Silva would not look back until his infamous July, 06 2013 loss to Chris Weidman where some showboating from Silva resulted in “The Spider” getting smashed. That marked the beginning of a four-fight losing streak after his UFC 183 unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz was overturned to a no contest following a positive test for the metabolites of the performance enhancing drugs Drostanolone and Androsterone according to an August 13, 2015 bloodyelbow.com article titled, “UFC’s Anderson Silva suspended for one year following bizarre NAC hearing” by Michael Hutchinson.
Israel Adesanya (15-0) has a relentless, stifling Muay Thai offensive game that has the ability to break the will of his opponents and turn them into purely defensive minded fighters. “I know him better than he knows himself,” exclaimed Adesanya in describing his idol Anderson Silva. Originally from Nigeria, “The Last Stylebender” is a former professional kickboxer who now fights by way of New Zealand. According to a November 2, 2018 sherdog.com article titled, “5 Things You Might Not Know About Israel Adesanya” author Guy Portman writes that Adesanya is quite the dancer even entertained becoming a professional dancer prior to becoming a fighter. “There is no doubt that Adesanya’s dedication to dance has been beneficial to the rangy, 6-foot-3 pugilist’s fluid movement and exceptional footwork,” writes Portman.
“There is no scenario where Adesanya comes out this thing unscathed. There is no scenario where Anderson Silva comes out of this thing feeling great that night, gets a good night’s sleep. That just simply is not happening. One or both of these athletes is going to the hospital,” exclaimed Bad Guy Inc. CEO and ESPN analyst Chael Sonnen in his January 22, 2019 YouTube video titled, “Anderson Silva likes the stylistic matchup with Israel Adesanya…”
If Anderson Silva fights smart, this is a very winnable fight. Both Silva and Adesanya are strikers, this means stand-up fighting is their specialty. But this is a mixed martial arts fight, not a kickboxing bout, though it could easily turn into a stand-up war if both fighters choose to engage in that style of fight. Conventional wisdom has it that Adesanya is the younger, sharper, faster fighter in the cage and has the advantage in the striking department.
While this may be true, Anderson Silva is an accomplished striker in his own right and is thus intimately familiar with the stand-up game himself. This familiarity with Adesanya’s strongest fight attributes puts Silva in a perfect position to compete long enough on his feet in order to close the distance, weave his way into a grappling exchange where he can then attempt to tie Adesanya up and drag him to the floor where Silva’s Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt can become a wild card that has been put into play.
The fans use their imaginations to fill in the blanks, to create false narratives of make-believe fantasies where they get exactly what they want. In this case, a stand-up battle with Anderson Silva going out on his shield or shocking the world with one last great performance. While all of these scenario’s are possible, the quickest route to victory for Silva is to exchange just enough with Adesanya to use his own kickboxing experience to tie Adesanya up and make this a mixed martial art fight instead of a kickboxing bout where Silva enjoys an edge in experience over the undefeated, up and coming Adesanya.
Israel Adesanya has displayed the remarkable ability to improve from fight to fight, his propensity to avoid the take down and enter the matrix while his opponents remain subject to the realities of physics is impressive. Adesanya is a stand-up wizard, his keys to victory will be to stay focused and not overly respect Silva for the great former champion that he is. Israel just needs to fight his fight, it’s even possible he is the superior fighter on the outside and in the clinch, which will necessitate the fact Anderson Silva needs to make this a mixed martial arts fight, not a glorified kickboxing match. “The Last Stylebender” will need to capitalize on his youth, athleticism and technique to dismantle the former champion and introduce the world to the Israel Adesanya era. This is the biggest fight of Israel’s career, he is on the precipice of becoming a house hold name and he will certainly take one step closer to towards realizing that goal come Saturday night against the legendary Anderson Silva.
Boxing Insider Notebook: Canelo, Golovkin, Shields, Lomachenko, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of July 25th to August 1st, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Photo Credit: HBO Sports
Gennady Golovkin Will Defend All his World Title Belts When he Faces Canelo Alvarez
Undefeated World Middleweight Champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN wants to make one thing clear. On Saturday, September 16, when he faces Canelo Alvaraez, Golovkin is walking into the ring at the T-Mobile Arena the same way he walked out of the ring at Madison Square Garden, in his last fight — wearing all his world championship belts.
“GGG will be proudly defending all of his titles — WBC, WBA, IBF, and IBO — as well as looking to add The Ring magazine title to his collection when he steps into the ring against Canelo,” said Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter. “Fans love this matchup. It’s not only the two best fighters in their division fighting each other in their prime, but also two of the most marketable fighters in the sport.”
Canelo vs. Golovkin is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions and sponsored by Tecate, BORN BOLD, Hennessy, Never Stop, Never Settle, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Fathom Events, Tsesnabank, and Capital Holdings. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 16 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.
Episode #1 of 24/7 Canelo/Golovkin premieres Saturday, Aug. 26 on HBO immediately following the live World Championship Boxing doubleheader from the StubHub Center at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.
HBO Sports Special Under the Lights: Canelo/Golovkin Debuts September 2nd
HBO Sports, widely acclaimed for its innovative and provocative boxing programming, examines the upcoming HBO Pay-Per-View® showdown between the two best middleweights today –Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin — when UNDER THE LIGHTS: CANELO/GOLOVKIN debuts SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 2 (10:00-10:20 p.m. ET/PT) on HBO.
The special will also be available on HBO NOW, HBO GO® and HBO On Demand®, and at hbo.com/boxing, as well as other new media platforms.
In an intimate and unvarnished setting, UNDER THE LIGHTS: CANELO/GOLOVKIN will feature an engaging roundtable conversation hosted by HBO Boxing commentator Max Kellerman, combatants Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin and HBO boxing analyst and four-division champion Roy Jones, Jr., as they breakdown and examine the many skills and experiences each fighter will bring into the ring for the best boxing matchup of 2017. It’s the final time the two will see each other until fight week unfolds in Las Vegas.
For more information, visit hbo.com/boxing; become a fan on Facebook at facebook.com/HBOBoxing; and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing. Follow the conversation using #CaneloGGG.
“Canelo vs. Golovkin” takes place Saturday, September 16 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/ 5:00 p.m. (PT).
Super Channel to Air Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga in Canada
Super Channel subscribers in Canada will have the opportunity to watch superstar Vasyl Lomachenko, arguably the No. 1 pound-for-pound professional boxer in the world today, as the Ukrainian defends his World Boxing Organization (WBO) Association Junior Lightweight World Championship for the second time, this Saturday night (August 5), starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT, live from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
The 29-year-old Lomachenko (8-1, 6 KOs) will be challenged by two-time world title challenger, dangerous Colombian knockout artist Miguel “The Scorpian” Marriaga (25-2, 21 KOs), the WBO No. 10-ranked contender, in the 12-round main event.
Three exciting fights on the stacked “Lomachenko vs, Marriaga” card, promoted by Top Rank, will air exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
Super Channel has recently aired major boxing events live like Brook vs. Spence Jr., Pacquiao-Horn, and Eubank, Jr. vs.
“we are all ecstatic to be bringing this exciting bout featuring one of the world’s best boxers, Vasyl Lomachenko, to our viewers and to be presenting another top-notch card from legendary promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, to Canadian fight fans,” said Troy Wassill. Director of Programming, Domestic Distributors & Sports for Super Channel.
Lomachenko is regarded by many as the greatest amateur boxer of his time and arguably all-time having captured two Olympic gold medals (2008 & 2012) and three World Championships, reportedly losing only once in 396 amateur bouts.
Eight (7-1) of his nine fights during his three-year pro career have been in world title fights, including world title winning performances in two different weight classes, WBO featherweight and junior lightweight. Lomachenko has defeated world champions Gary Russell, Jr., Roman Martinez and Nicholas Walters.
Marriaga, who is moving up to junior lightweight to challenge Lomachenko, is a battled-tested challenger with good power and a strong amateur background.
In the 12-round co-feature, NABO & NABF lightweight champion “Sugar” Raymundo Beltran (33-7-1, 21 KOs) defends his titles against former two-time Interim World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Featherweight World Champion Bryan Vasquez (36-2, 19 KOs).
Mexico-native Beltran, fighting out of Phoenix (AZ), is a two-time world title challenger who is knocking on the door for another world title shot. Beltran is ranked No. 2 in the world by the WBO, World Boxing Council (WBC) and International Boxing Federation (IBF), as well as No. 6 by the WBA.
Vasquez, fighting out of Costa Rico, is rated the No. 1 lightweight contender in the world by the WBA
In the eight-round Super Channel opener, 2012 Olympic silver medalist Esquiva Falcao (17-0, 12 KOs), the undefeated Brazilian middleweight, steps up in terms of class opposition to face Ivan “Terrible” Montero (20-2, 8 KOs), of Mexico.
To see the “Lomachenko vs. Marriaga” live, as well as more exciting boxing to come, fight fans in Canada can contact their local cable provider to subscribe to Super Channel and all that it offers, including premium series, movies and much more, for as low as $9.95 per month.
Sadam Ali Captures WBA International Welterweight Title and Third Straight Victory with Decision Win Against Johan Perez
Sadam “The World Kid” Ali (25-1, 14 KOs) took a decisive step towards once again fighting for a world title tonight with a unanimous decision victory against former two-time interim WBA Super Lightweight champion Johan “El Terrible” Perez (22-4-4, 15 KOs). The 10-round fight, which earned Ali the vacant WBA International Welterweight, was the main event of the latest edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN from Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Arizona.
Ali, from Brooklyn, NY, fought in one of the toughest fights of his career against Perez, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, who had scored wins against the likes of Yoshihiro “El Maestrito” Kamegai, Paul Spadafora and Steve “2POUND” Forbes.
“I give myself a 6 tonight; I felt off,” said Sadam Ali. “Perez was tough, very tall and awkward, and I was able to see that I have a lot to work on to be honest. I felt that my movement wasn’t right. I felt slow and off balance. I’m not too happy with my performance. I don’t want to make excuses, but my performance wasn’t as good as I expected. Now it’s time to go back to the gym and work on things I need to work on. That’s how I’ll get better, by seeing my mistakes and getting back to work in the gym.”
“I need rugged fights like this. Johan might not have a big name but he came to fight and not only for a paycheck. So, these kinds of fights are exactly what I need to get into title contention.”
In the televised co-main event, Alejandro “El Elegido” Barrera (27-3, 17 KOs) of Nuevo León, México scored a split decision victory against Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez (20-3, 11 KOs) of the Bronx, NY in a 10-round Welterweight bout.
Barrera, who is a student of the Hall of Fame trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristáin, brought a busy style from the outside that nullified Gomez’s counter-punching offense. When Gomez would try to counter, Barrera would step back and throw counters of his own. Or, like in sixth round, Barrera would simply overwhelm Gomez with volume punching.
During an explosive seventh round exchange, Barrera was cut by a headbutt above his right eye. Then, only a few seconds later, Gomez dropped Barrera with a thunderous counter left hook. The back and forth action continued into the final rounds, with Barrera winning by two scores of 93-96, while one judge it 95-94 for Gomez.
“I feel very happy with the victory, but at the same time I feel tired because it was a tough fight,” said Alejandro Barrera. “There were many headbutts. He is a very dirty fighter, but I already knew his boxing was fast-paced. I studied it and trained for it. Now, I’ve got to rest and continue training hard.”
Pablo “The Shark” Rubio, Jr. (10-0, 3 KOs) of Los Angeles, California scored a tough split decision victory against David Perez (8-2, 4 KOs) of Houston, Texas in a non-televised swing bout. Two judges scored the fight for Rubio with scores of 58-56 and 59-55, while one judge scored the fight 60-54 for Perez.
Topping off the ESPN3 live stream, Patrick Teixeira (27-1, 22 KOs) cruised to a unanimous decision victory against Andrew “Hurricane” Hernandez (19-6-1, 9 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona in an eight-round super welterweight collision.
Teixeira, a native of Santa Catarina, Brazil, used his rangy southpaw stance to box from the outside and to set up straight left hands to the head and left hooks to the body. However, in fifth round, Teixeira injured his left hand, which forced him to rely on his jab and footwork even more for the later stretch of the fight.
Although he was cut below his left eye in the eighth and final round, Teixeira earned an easy victory after not having fought since his first defeat in May of 2016. Teixeira won with two scores of 80-72 and one score of 79-73.
Kicking off the ESPN3 live stream, Daquan “King” Arnett (16-1 9 KOs) of Winter Park, Florida shook off an almost two-year layoff by cruising to a unanimous decision victory against Tijuana, Mexico’s Jorge “Pantera” Silva (21-14-2, 17 KOs) in an eight-round super welterweight fight. Arnett controlled the action throughout the fight by calmly walking Silva down from one side of the ring to the other, using touch jabs to blind Silva before unleashing hard combinations to the head and body.
Silva was deducted a point in sixth round for holding Arnett excessively. After two more rounds of boxing, Arnett earned himself three scores of 80-71.
In the first fight of the evening, Alfredo Escarcega (3-0) scored a majority decision victory against Rodolfo “Rudy” Gamez (1-4) in a four-round super lightweight fight.
Another All Philly War in Line as Wise-Jenkins Collide
It may be just a six-round fight, but the match between North Philadelphia junior middleweights Isaiah Wise and Fred Jenkins, Jr., is sure to be treated by the fans like a main event when the fighters collide Friday evening, Sept. 8, at the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia.
Topping the 10-bout card is an eight-round junior lightweight contest between Avery Sparrow, of Philadelphia, and former four-time Canadian national amateur champion Joey Laviolette, of Nova Scotia, Canada. First fight begins at 7.30 p.m.
Wise ( above left), 25, is a relative newcomer, having compiled a 5-1 record since turning pro early in 2016. He has scored three knockouts, losing only by decision to Philly-killer Roque Zapata, of Culpeper, VA.
In two fights this year against Wisconsin-based fighters, Wise got off the canvas to stop Jeffrey Wright in four rounds and he outpointed Mark Daniels over six.
Jenkins,30, is the veteran of the two, owning a 10-4 record since turning pro in 2011. He has scored three knockouts and he is managed and trained by his dad, Fred Jenkins, Sr., an ex-pro junior middleweight himself and a member of the Pennsylvania Boxing Hall of Fame as a trainer.
The biggest win on the resume of Jenkins, Jr. came in 2014 when he knocked out Jeremy Trussell, of Baltimore, MD, in four rounds at the 2300 Arena. He also has defeated Alex Sanchez, of Camden, NJ, and Ibrihim Shabazz, of Newark, NJ.
Wise has had all six of his professional fights at the 2300 Arena. Jenkins is 4-3 in the building.
In an era where Philadelphia fighters often balk at fighting each other, neither Wise nor Jenkins appear to have a problem with the match.
“Fighting someone from the same city doesn’t bother me at all,” said Wise. “This is a business and this fight will show me where I stand.”
Jenkins: “It’s all about winning. I’m trying to climb the ladder and if I beat Wise then I can get another shot at Zapata.”
Zapata, who fights Elijah Vines, of Philadelphia, on the same card, owns victories over both Wise and Jenkins, both by decision, both at the 2300 Arena.
The only other foe common to both Wise and Jenkins is James Robinson, of York, PA. Wise and Jenkins each defeated Robinson by decision, Wise over four rounds and Jenkins over six.
Seven additional bouts complete the Sept. 8 card. Among those featured will be welterweight Marcel Rivers, junior welterweight Victor Padilla and featherweight Crystian Peguero.
Mayweather Promotions Announces the 8th Titans of the Trade: Breakfast of Champions at MGM Grand
Mayweather Promotions is preparing for this signature event for the 8th consecutive time! Titans of the Trade: Breakfast of Champions is set to take place on the morning of the Mayweather vs. McGregor weigh-in, Friday, August 25 at MGM Grand. This event celebrates the continuous achievements of individuals who are influencers the sports and entertainment world to make it what it is today.
This year’s theme is Dream, Conquer, and Sparkle-exemplifying the acknowledgement of those who have shined or sparkled in their respective professional fields. The ability to shine bright within the industry is noteworthy and deserves recognition and presentation of one of our prestigious awards.
Honorees from our 2016 Titans of the Trade affair include: first African American VP in Major League Baseball history; Marian Rhodes, former WBC World Champion; Alicia Ashley, 2016 Olympian; Vashti Cunningham, Chi-Town’s finest breakers; The Monster Kids, and Premier Boxing Champions’ President of Boxing Operations; Sylvia Browne-Owens. Honorees to be recognized at the upcoming event include: multi-talented musician and actress; Tally, undefeated boxing world champion and MMA fighter; Heather Hardy, UC-Riverside’s top performing female basketball player; Simone Decoud, former UNLV softball coach; Shan McDonald, and remarkable boxing referee; Sparkle Lee.
Young Trailblazer Award recipient- Tally is an up and coming multi-talented rap artist, songwriter, actress and musician from sunny Nashville, Tennessee. Growing up, Tally took interest into becoming an artist when she began making YouTube covers, landed lead roles in her school plays, and starting playing the guitar, which helped her songwriting skills.
Music always played an important role in her life and that landed her a star role in the second season of Lifetime’s The Rap Game. After being eliminated after the first episode, she didn’t let that deter her future success. She continued to focus on her music career, ultimately landed her another opportunity on the third season of The Rap Game, as well as performing at the 2017 Radio Disney Awards.
Young Trailblazer Award recipient- Simone Decoud has made headlines due to her continuous success as a point guard at UC-Riverside. This Riverside native has been a three-time, All-Big West Honoree, who has averaged 11.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game this season. Simone has finished her junior year in college as the team’s seventh all-time leading scorer and second on the career assists list and expects to graduate with a degree in Media Cultural Studies. After graduating, she will look to begin her professional basketball career overseas.
Golden Glove Award recipient- Heather “The Heat” Hardy has let her talent do all the talking. She has contributed to diversifying the sports industry by her remarkable success as a female boxer and strength through her continuous achievements in the industry. Being a single mother and a professional boxer has come with a lot of hard-work and dedication but Heather has conquered her adversities through recognition in combat-sports. Her most recent achievement was her TKO win at her MMA debut against Alice Yauger on June 24th. Heather is also unbeaten in the boxing ring with 20 wins, 4 KO’s and the WBC super bantamweight & featherweight world titlesTitans of the Trade Award recipient- Shan McDonald was inducted into the UNLV Athletics Hall of Fame after leading the Rebels to 511 victories in 17 seasons, seven-straight NCAA tournaments from 1990-96, and three appearances in the Women’s College World Series. The former UNLV softball coach drove her team to break, or tie, 30 school records, which helped earn her the ‘all-time winnings coach’s title. She has proven to be a true titan in sports.
Meritorious Achievement Award recipient- Sparkle Lee has lead a reputable career as a boxing referee that has helped reshape the image of the ‘third man in the ring’ for all women. She has made history on countless occasions including as the first female referee to be inducted in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. Her love for boxing started as a routine workout at Gleason’s Gym in the 80’s and transpired into a career of 30+ years, paving the way for female referees to follow.
In addition to our honorees, the event will be hosted by, TV personality and fashion designer; Angel Brinks. Plus 2 special guest performances by talented Las Vegas native; Cabria Anderson and singer and songwriter, Jade Novah.
This year’s Titans of the Trade: Breakfast of Champions- Dream, Conquer, & Sparkle is sponsored by: The Money Team, Mayweather Sports, MGM Grand, SHOWTIME, FNOM, Screaming Images BoxRaw, Alexandre Crepin, Fight Label, Versace Fragrances, Smooth Operators Salon, Too Pretty Brand, and PINTA USA.
“Everybody’s on Steroids” – The Concerning State of MMA
“Everybody’s on Steroids” – The Concerning State of MMA
By Jaime C. Feal
During the hype for his first fight against Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz said it best: “Everybody’s on steroids.” Diaz went on to stop McGregor at UFC 196, and then McGregor was pulled from a potential rematch at UFC 200 due to not fulfilling media obligations. That decision by Zuffa brass turned out to be a big error, as their replacement main event between Jon “Bones” Jones and Daniel Cormier fell through when Jones was pulled from the card due to a positive test for PEDs. Cormier went on to beat last minute replacement Anderson Silva in a fight that saw the crowd boo heavily due to a lack of action. Furthermore, the Cormier-Silva fight was demoted to co-main event and a woman’s title fight between Miesha Tata and Amanda Nunes ended up headlining UFC 200. And the return of WWE superstar and former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, the fighter that drew the most viewers, ended up testing positive himself as was revealed by USADA the week after UFC 200. Because of an exemption Lesnar received as a late addition to the card his results did not come back in time to stop him from competing, and he will not be fined by USADA or the UFC for his positive test. Lesnar’s opponent Mark Hunt has publicly demanded he be compensated and has blasted the UFC for “throwing him under the bus.”
To make matters worse, former Featherweight title contender Chad Mendes was popped for a positive test recently and suspended 2 years by USADA, just like Jones was suspended for 2 years. The fighters can appeal their suspensions and try to reduce them, but ultimately the UFC has an enormous problem on their hands with fighters using PEDs before competing against one another in the cage. The timing of the 4 billion dollar sale of the company amidst all the positive tests is also suspect. It could be said that Station Casino and Zuffa owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertita cashed out at the right time.
Not only are fighters getting suspended left and right, but other fighters who are theoretically clean are livid. Then you have superstar fighters like Georges St. Pierre who are prime for a comeback, but have expressed concerns about stepping in the cage against juiced competition. Finally, the fans can’t be happy to see their favorite fighter(s) and sport being tainted by steroids, masking agents, and PEDs. The crisis is similar to the steroid epidemic in the 90s in Major League Baseball where even the biggest superstars were using. Now that the UFC is under new ownership, the new owners and management have a chance to affect immediate change. The sport is inherently exciting, fast-paced, and action-packed. We don’t need to artificially increase the explosiveness of the sport as baseball did with the home run. When you have two athletes competing against each other in a combat sport fairness and safety are of the utmost concern. MMA as a sport has worked hard to become regulated and accepted, and a lot of that work can be undone if somebody is seriously hurt in the cage by an opponent who tests positive for PEDs. This epidemic needs to get cleaned up quickly in the interest of all parties. Let’s hope it does.