All three judges awarded the three-round fight to Adesanya: 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
"This is like, for a kid, if I played basketball against Michael Jordan. this is it for me", Adesanya said.
Somehow, the battle lived up to the billing, as the 43-year-old Silva coupled fight wisdom with flashes of his former self and made things highly competitive with the 29-year-old kickboxer.
Adesanya is now expected to be in the frame for a shot at the UFC middleweight title.
The blazing hands and the remarkable reflexes that led Anderson Silva to become the greatest fighter in the world at his peak are long gone.
After the fight, Silva was heard saying to Adesanya: "I pass the baton onto you".
"Hey everyone, Rob here thought I'd give an update on how I'm doing", Whittaker said in a video posted to Instagram. Conor McGregor who was watching from afar was impelled to pay his regards to Silva, whilst requesting a "passing of the guard" moment all their own.
"I love my job".
"Thanks to all my fans, you guys know what it takes to keep me out of the Octagon", he said. Silva waited patiently for opportunities to counter, but he wasn't able to return to his glory days when he won 16 bouts in a row and was unbeaten for almost a decade. "This is my heart".
Australia's UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker withdrew from his championship defence against Kelvin Gastelum on Sunday at UFC 234 because of an abdominal injury and subsequent emergency surgery. I was fighting the doctors all the way up until they said, 'You have to get surgery or you're going to lose part of your bowel.' Or it could be potentially fatal. The Aussie champ was diagnosed with a hernia, underwent emergency surgery and is now recovering, according to White. There is no timetable for his return. The Australian crowd chanted Silva's name at various points in the fight, but Adesanya remained in control.
The most risky moment for Adesanya came in the third round, when Silva launched into a flying knee attempt. The two athletes showed off an array of creative striking exchanges and ultimately the better of those went to the younger Adesanya. It is his fifth win in the UFC, all of which have come in the past 12 months.
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