Unfortunate as it was that the scheduled main event between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum had to be scrapped at the last minute (Whittaker was found to have a serious hernia and intestinal issue that required immediate surgery), UFC 234 was still pretty enjoyable. 

Let’s take a look at UFC 234’s main-card results! 

Main Event: Israel Adesanya def. Anderson Silva via Unanimous Decision (30-27x2, 29-28)

The main event of the evening—the makeshift main event of the evening, once again, given that Robert Whittaker was forced into emergency surgery—delivered in every sense. One of the greatest middleweights in MMA history, Anderson Silva, stood and traded with Israel Adesanya, one of the hottest prospects in the game, for three rounds. Both men had their moments and both men achieved success, but Adesanya controlled the early going. In the middle stanza, though, “The Spider” began to put his combinations together and hurt Israel, who responded not by backing down, but by throwing more blows of his own. The multiple head kicks that Anderson ducked under will almost definitely be made into GIFs soon. The end result of this ultra-fun fifteen-minute affair was a unanimous decision—and, in all likelihood, the next middleweight title shot—going to Adesanya. 

It goes without saying that Anderson Silva has nothing left to prove; he hasn’t had anything left to prove for a long, long time. Since he won’t make his family and friends happy by calling it a career and driving off into the sunset, it looks like we’ll have to watch him for at least another fight…and even though he’s forty-three years old, that’s perfectly okay. The reality of Silva’s situation is that despite the injuries and the failed drug tests, he beat Derek Brunson and put in a very competitive performance against one of the most feared prospects in the sport today. While other athletes have to retire when they reach their forties, Silva still has what it takes to be competitive against the best in the sport. When that’s no longer the case, he should hang his gloves up for good. But as it stands, who are we to tell him to stop fighting? 

Standing and trading with Anderson Silva for three rounds is not an easy task, but Israel Adesanya passed the test with flying colors. His striking is fierce, his speed is remarkable, and it’ll be very, very fun to see him fight for the middleweight belt. It’s a shame that the intended main event had to be scrapped, both generally and because there’s now something of a “roadblock” on the way to the title. The winner of Silva-Adesanya was meant to fight the winner of Gastelum-Whittaker. Now, it seems as though Israel will have to take another fight or wait for the title shot. Whatever he decides to do, his next trip to the cage will be must-watch television. 

Co-Main Event: Lando Vannata def. Marcos Rosa Mariano via Kimura, Round 1, 4:55

In the co-main event of the evening, Lando Vannata demonstrated precisely how well-rounded his game is by overwhelming Marcos Rosa Mariano with a first-round kimura. Vannata didn’t waste any time completing a takedown, and once the fight hit the ground, he threw a number of short, powerful punches and elbows. Eventually, when just five or so seconds were remaining in the period, Lando was able to put the finishing touches on a textbook kimura, which elicited a tap. 

Vannata is one of the most underrated lightweights signed to the UFC, and this victory proved that he belongs with the division’s best; given his age and all the top-level fighters he’s fought, he could well put his skills together and receive a shot at the belt in the future. For Mariano, they're far worse ways to lose a UFC debut, and furthermore, there are far worse opponents to lose to. With his Octagon jitters out of the way, we’ll really see what he’s made of in his next outing.
 
Featured Fight: Ricky Simon def. Yani Yahya via Unanimous Decision (30-27x2, 30-25)

Bantamweights Yani Yahya and Ricky Simon shared the cage during the main card’s third bout, and they riveted fans while they did so. Both men left it all in the Octagon and traded numerous powerful punches; Yahya, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace, repeatedly enticed Simon to join him on the canvas, but Ricky was rightly cautious and refused to do so until the final minute of the contest. Prior to that, the athletes clipped one another, overcame adversity, and once again put on a show for viewers. Yahya’s been a bantamweight staple for years, and that shouldn’t change after a fight like this. At twenty-six, and with a record of fifteen and one, Ricky Simon is obviously a bright talent; few men are capable of beating Yani Yahya. He’s ready for a major step-up in competition for his next match. How about a date with the loser of (or the winner—either one will be good) of Cody Garbrandt-Pedro Munhoz? 

Montana De La Rosa def. Nadia Kassem via Armbar, Round 2, 2:37

The second fight of the evening was a clash between quick-rising flyweights Montana De La Rosa and Nadia Kassem. De La Rosa charged Kassem early and asserted her dominance on the canvas. Ultimately, despite some game attempts to reverse position and land meaningful offense by Kassem, De La Rosa was able to lock-up an armbar in the second round. There’s much for both of these women to look forward to. Kassem has many opportunities available to her in the ever-evolving flyweight division, and De La Rosa is ready for a big contender match-up. 

Jim Crute def. Sam Alvey via TKO, Round 1, 2:49

The main card began with a light heavyweight showdown between twenty-two-year-old Jimmy Crute and late replacement “Smilin’” Sam Alvey. After a feeling out process during the opening two to three minutes, Crute clipped Alvery with a hard punch, and referee Marc Goddard nearly halted the action. However, Alvey was able to return to his feet, only to attempt a takedown, be reversed by Crute, and be tagged with a flurry of ground and pound, which forced the referee to draw a halt to the action. Immediately after the match was stopped, Alvey protested the call, believing that he was capable of coming back. 

Alvey was most certainly hurt, but he probably could have continued, at least for a few seconds; we’ve seen him in worse trouble in the past. However, he’ll be back, and there was no need for him to sustain unnecessary damage here. This was once again a late replacement bout for him, and in Australia (a twenty-four-hour flight!), no less, and it’ll still be fun to watch him moving forward. Crute was able to secure a fantastic win in front of his hometown crowd. We still don’t know a tremendous amount about his skills, but if he’s able to drop Sam Alvey like that, there’s an excellent chance that he’ll become a contender at some point in the future. 

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