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Israel Adesanya sees parallels to Anderson Silva in receiving ‘boring fight’ hate

israel adesanya
Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya’s dominance is often compared to division legend Anderson Silva’s. And the Nigerian believes that also includes getting similar hate from fight fans calling their decision victories boring.

This past Saturday at UFC 271, the 32-year-old champion defended his title four a fourth straight time when he beat division rival Robert Whittaker (23-6) by unanimous decision. Although it was viewed by many as a highly competitive affair featuring two of the best middleweights ever, some fans were not entertained.

Similar complaints were tossed at former 185-pound champion Silva (34-11) in the midst of his 12-fight streak of title defenses. The Brazilian was so much better than his opponents that when he didn’t score destructive finishes and instead had dominant decision wins, he was knocked for not putting his foes away early. Adesanya admits he is starting to feel the same unfair heat from some fans.

Israel Adesanya on receiving same hate the Anderson Silva once got

“I’m starting to fall into this– not a trap, this issue. Like, I realize that Silva had as well,” Adesanya said Monday on “The MMA Hour.” UFC 97, he fought Thales Leites and he beat him up, pieced him up, but people were like, ‘Oh, it was a boring fight.’ I’m like, no, it wasn’t. Yeah, Thales didn’t really do much later on, because he was too scared to engage.”

Considering the talent involved, both Adesanya and Whittaker fought tactically. That’s no surprise for the Australian after being on the wrong end of a technical knockout loss in their pair’s first fight in 2019. Because of this, Whittaker fought cautious at times and looked to set traps. Something the champ was not falling for.

“Later on [in the fight], we thought Rob was going to press the action because you’re down, his corner’s saying he’s down, but he was just moving away. There was one point he was drifting and trying to set me up for a trap, and I was like, ‘That’s my move,’ and I went back to the center. And then he came to the center and then we kept on fighting.”

Adesanya admits being bored fighting Marvin Vettori in June

israel adesanya
Feb 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, UNITED STATES; Israel Adesanya (red gloves) before the fight against Robert Whittaker (blue gloves) during UFC 271 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Since Adesanya could not mirror in the rematch what he did to Whittaker in the first bout, less informed fans have slammed the urgency to finish in his recent decision wins. Although he admits he was bored at times in his June win over Marvin Vettori, that was not the case over the weekend. He says he was facing a legitimate threat that deserved to be taken seriously, and reckless actions would not have gone well.

“That’s one thing I’m glad [about]. I had fun, I was present from the first round to the last bell. My last fight before that [against Vettori], I wasn’t. I got bored, because I was just like, ‘This guy’s not a threat to me. He doesn’t pose any threat.’ But this fight, I could not afford to get bored. I could not afford to have that, because Rob will crack you.”

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