Israel Adesanya is in the midst of preparations for his upcoming title defense against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276. According to him, the bout will be similar to Anderson Silva’s encounter with Forrest Griffin at UFC 101.
In his most recent YouTube video, the Nigerian-born fighter documented his cardio training regime. At one point in the video package, he said that his fifth title defense will be similar to the fight between 'The Spider' and Griffin that took place in 2009.
Israel Adesanya said:
“This is going to be spectacular. Think UFC 101, Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. Like, I’m just gonna be in the zone. I don’t care. And yeah, stay tuned.”
Watch Israel Adesanya refer to Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin in the video below:
The aforementioned bout served as the UFC 101 co-headliner for the main-event lightweight title fight between BJ Penn and Kenny Florian. It was a rare occasion when the then-middleweight champion Silva stepped up to the 205lbs weight class.
The bout lasted a little under three-and-a-half minutes with Griffin cautiously going after the Brazilian while targeting his head with punches. However, Silva’s feints and head movement helped him avoid any strike. What was even more impressive was how 'The Spider' constantly fought with his hands down. Eventually, Silva countered Griffin’s attempted right-left combination with a right of his own, sending his opponent to the ground.
'The Last Stylebender' is aiming for a similar performance on July 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
When Israel Adesanya crossed paths with Anderson Silva
The reigning UFC middleweight champion had an opportunity to meet the legendary Brazilian fighter inside the octagon at UFC 234.
It was a stand-up affair with both fighters respecting each other's striking abilities. There were no reckless exchanges as each combatant tried to outsmart the other. This led to an interesting matchup, which was awarded the Fight of the Night bonus. Adesanya won via unanimous decision.
This was Israel Adesanya's 16th consecutive win in his professional MMA career and fifth victory inside the octagon. By defeating ‘The Spider’, the Nigerian-born Kiwi secured his place in an interim middleweight title fight against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236.
He won that bout and later unified the middleweight championship by defeating Robert Whittaker at UFC 243. He has held the undisputed title since October 2019.