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UFC 234 live coverage: Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya

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Following a withdrawal from the card by UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker due to a hernia just before the event was about to start, UFC 234 will be headlined by a non-title contest pitting Anderson Silva (34-8) against Israel Adesanya.(15-0). Adesanya’s flashy style has drawn comparisons to Silva and now Adesanya will have the opportunity to compete against the all time great. Follow round-by-round, fight-by-fight action with us. Also on the card from Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia will be Lando Vannata (9-3-2) versus Marcos Rosa Mariano (6-4) in a lightweight feature and Ricky Simon (14-1) facing Rani Yahya (26-9) in a bantamweight bout. The top women’s bout of the night will be Montana De La Rosa (9-4) taking on unbeaten Nadia Kassem (5-0).

Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya live round-by-round coverage

Anderson Silva is one of a handful of fighters who receives consideration for title of the greatest fighter of all time. The longtime middleweight champion is now 43 and has largely struggled since losing that championship. Israel Adesanya, dubbed the Last Stylebender, is 15-0 in MMA with a similar creative striking style to Silva. There are big hopes for what he can accomplish in the sport as he moves to its top level.

Round 1. Adesanya opens with a couple of low kicks. Adesanya continues to be more active with his kicks while Silva looks to measure as he often does early in a fight. Silva chases and gets wobbled with a counterpunch. Adesanya follows cautiously and lands a few additional punches but Silva is fine. Silva charges again and lands one punch in the process. Silva lands a nice right hand. Adesanya answers with one of his own. Adesanya throws a big head kick but Silva ducks his head out of the way. Adesanya throws it again and again Silva ducks under it. 10-9 Adesanya.

Round 2. Adesanya moves in and eats a hard counterpunch that elicits a big reaction from the crowd. Adesanya lands two punches right on the chin of Silva as Silva has his hands down. Silva responds with a nice counter right hand and then pursues with some punches that connect. Silva follows with another solid punch. Silva pursues yet again and lands a right hook in the middle of it. 10-9 Silva.

Round 3. Adesanya lands a hard leg kick and Silva goes down but he appears to have been playing it up. Silva goes for a flying knee but Adesanya moves out of the way. Silva stands up against the cage and encourages Adesanya to come in. Adesanya stays at distance as the crowd boos. They return to the center. Adesanya lands a number of low kicks there. Adesanya lands a strong straight left hand. 10-9 Adesanya, 29-28 Adesanya.

Winner: Israel Adesanya, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

That proved to be a tougher fight for Adesanya than many expected it to be. With his style so similar to Silva, he was forced to fight the sort of fight that Silva likes and Silva was still quite dangerous in his own preferred zone. Adesanya still earned the win and now the question is what’s next for the UFC middleweight title.

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Lando Vannata vs. Marcos Rosa Mariano live round-by-round coverage

This was originally going to be on the prelims but it got moved up after the late pullout by Robert Whittaker and serves as one of the most unlikely pay-per-view co-main events in UFC history. Lando Vannata burst onto the scene in the UFC with an impressive late-notice fight against top contender Tony Ferguson and wheel kick knockout of John Makdessi but he has struggled since then. He is 1-3-2 in his last six fights. Marcos Rosa Mariano is 6-4 and is making his UFC debut.

Round 1. Mariano opens with a series of kicks that connect well. Vannata grabs a body lock and slams Mariano down. Vannata lands some punches from the top but isn’t able to accomplish a lot as Mariano’s defense has been good. Later in the round, Vannata connects with a few hard elbows. Vannata begins to open up late and grabs a kimura for the submission right before the close of the round.

Winner: Lando Vannata, submission, round 1.

Lando Vannata took care of business in that fight, finding a vulnerability of his opponent and capitalizing on it.

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Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon live round-by-round coverage

Submission specialist Rani Yahya has been competing at the top level for over a decade. Ricky Simon is 14-1 with 2 UFC wins thus far and is getting the biggest name opponent of his career here.

Round 1. Yahya comes out swinging wildly looking to land a haymaker. Simon is more measured, influenced no doubt by the threat Yahya presents on the ground. Simon drops Yahya with a punch and looks to finish on the ground with punches but he gets up when Yahya seems okay. Simon drops Yahya with another punch and again has Yahya stand up. Simon is pushing forward with strikes but then backing off when Yahya makes an attempt to get the fight to the ground. 10-9 Simon.

Round 2. Yahya goes down after a leg kick early and Simon kicks at Yahya’s legs from distance without going to the ground. Yahya lands a nice combination and then shoots for a takedown but he shoots from too far away. Yahya hurts Simon with an uppercut and charges forward swinging wildly. Simon is able to regain his composure and returns to his aggressive standup. Simon briefly goes to the ground with Yahya at the end of the round. 10-9 Yahya.

Round 3. Both fighters come out swinging again. When they get closer together, Yahya looks for a takedown but doesn’t come close. Yahya tries to pull guard but isn’t successful in that either. Simon opens up with a few nice combinations and is walking Yahya down. Yahya finally gets Simon to join him on the ground for an extended period late in the third. Simon lands punches from inside Yahya’s full guard until the fight comes to a close. 10-9 Simon, 29-28 Simon.

Winner: Ricky Simon, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25).

Ricky Simon turned in an impressive performance, keeping a fast pace throughout the fight and avoiding the dangers Rani Yahya presents to pick up a quality win.

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Montana De La Rosa vs. Nadia Kassem live round-by-round coverage

Montana De La Rosa is quite experienced at just 23 years old and she has three straight submissions in the UFC. Nadia Kassem is the same age but much less experienced. Kassem is undefeated and won her UFC debut.

Round 1. De La Rosa charges forward with punches and then takes Kassem down. De La Rosa quickly moves to pass guard. Kassem is able to maintain her guard and she throws some elbows from the bottom. De La Rosa lands punches from the top. De La Rosa moves into side control late and looks for an armbar but time runs out. 10-9 De La Rosa.

Round 2. De La Rosa gets a quick takedown at the beginning of the round and immediately goes back to work with punches and elbows. De La Rosa secures side control and then full mount. De La Rosa gets a mounted triangle choke and then transitions into an armbar. Kassem fights that well and so De La Rosa transitions back into the triangle choke. De La Rosa then goes back to the armbar and gets the submission.

Winner: Montana De La Rosa.

That was beautiful ground work from De La Rosa. She really overwhelmed Kassem in the second and showcased her excellent grappling skills. She could be graduating to fighting top contenders soon.

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Sam Alvey vs. Jim Crute live round-by-round coverage

“Smilin’” Sam Alvey is a popular veteran fighter who has established his own little niche in the sport. Jim Crute is an unbeaten 22-year-old Australian prospect getting a big career opportunity in this contest.

Round 1. Crute throws a few high kicks early with none landing too solidly. Crute drops Alvey with a punch as Alvey is coming in and walks away thinking the fight is done. Referee Marc Goddard allows the fight to continue but Crute follows up with additional punches until the fight is stopped. Alvey complains loudly but he was given plenty of opportunity there.

Winner: Jim Crute, TKO, round 1.

That was a nice win for Jim Crute that unfortunately could be overshadowed by Alvey’s protests. In a thin light heavyweight division, Crute could rise up quickly.

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Devonte Smith vs. Dong Hyun Ma live round-by-round coverage

Devonte Smith is a knockout artist riding a five fight win streak. He takes on the more experienced Dong Hyun Ma, who has won three straight in the UFC in his own right.

Round 1. The fighters are tentative in the early going, feeling each other out before opening up. Smith throws a few hard kicks while Ma doesn’t throw a lot of anything. Smith hurts Ma with a two-punch combination. Ma goes down and Smith pours on additional punches until the fight is stopped.

Winner: Devonte Smith, TKO, round 1.

Dong Hyun Ma seemed reluctant to engage for much of that fight and the ending demonstrated why. As soon as Smith landed, he has such power that the stoppage was already close.

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Shane Young vs. Austin Arnett live round-by-round coverage

It’s another Oceania vs. the world bout as New Zealand athlete Shane Young takes on American Austin Arnett. Arnett has struggled in the UFC and is the sizable betting underdog against Young, who stopped Rolando Dy in his last bout.

Round 1. Young is throwing much more in the early going, mainly straight punches to the head. Arnett is largely defending well but Young will get through regularly given how much he is throwing. Arnett for his part is countering as Young comes in. Young begins to slow down a little bit as the round progresses. Young lands a big combination late in the round. 10-9 Young.

Round 2. Young continues to press forward with Arnett countering, just like in the first. In contrast to some of the previous fights with kick happy fighters, Young and Arnett are very content to box. Young really opens up in the final minute with some clean punches. Young looks for a takedown late but Arnett defends well. Arnett connects with some hard punches late. 10-9 Young.

Round 3. The pace of the fight slows in the third, albeit largely with the same dynamic of Young pushing forward with his punches and Arnett countering. Just like in the first two rounds, Young has a strong flurry in the final minute. Arnett answers back but Young drops him with a massive looping right hand right before the bell. 10-9 Young, 30-27 Young.

Winner: Shane Young, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Young was the aggressor and landed the cleaner, harder punches to score the win relatively close to home.

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Kai Kara-France vs. Raulian Paiva live round-by-round coverage

Kai Kara-France is a New Zealand fighter who won his UFC debut. He takes on Raulian Paiva, who has accumulated an impressive 18-1 record moving up the ranks.

Round 1. Kara-France connects with a big right hand early. He lands another shortly thereafter. Paiva looks for a takedown but doesn’t get it. Paiva has more success later in the round, landing a couple of combinations. Paiva looks for a takedown but again doesn’t come close. 10-9 Paiva.

Round 2. Kara-France goes for a takedown but Paiva blocks it and takes top position. Paiva quickly moves into side control. Kara-France powers out and returns to his feet. Paiva blocks another takedown and lands some punches from the top. Kara-France lands an upkick and gets back up to his feet. Kara-France lands a few quality punches there. Kara-France continues to have success in the standup but Paiva grabs a tight guillotine right as the round comes to an end. 10-9 Paiva.

Round 3. Paiva gets the better of an early exchange. Kara-France answers back well. Paiva connects with a strong straight right hand and Kara-France responds with a takedown. Paiva quickly stands back up. Kara-France gets a takedown at the very end. 10-9 Kara-France, 29-28 Paiva.

Winner: Kai Kara-France, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

That was a close fight that fairly could have gone either way. They have distinctive styles but neither was able to separate from the other.

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Teruto Ishihara vs. Kyung Ho Kang live round-by-round coverage

Teruto Ishihara is a charismatic Japanese competitor who has dropped four of his last five and needs a win for the sake of his UFC career. Kyung Ho Kang had a three-fight UFC win streak snapped by a loss last time out and he’ll be looking to put his submission skills to use.

Round 1. Ishihara lands a solid straight punch early on Kang. Kang moves in aggressively and gets dropped by another punch. Kang recovers and lands a nice knee and a hook. Ishihara drops to a knee from a Kang knee and Kang pours on the offense. Ishihara fires back and it’s an all-out brawl. Kang gets a takedown with two minutes left in the round and looks to set up a rear naked choke but he can’t get his own legs in position at first. Kang then secures the legs, traps Ishihara’s arm, and locks in the choke. Ishihara doesn’t tap and instead goes unconscious.

Winner: Kyung Ho Kang, submission, round 1.

That was a strong performance from Kang. He showcased guts and engaged in an exciting standup battle before finishing the fight with his ground skills.

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Callan Potter vs. Jalin Turner live round-by-round coverage

Callan Potter is an Australian veteran who earned his opportunity at the big time by winning 9 of his last 10 on smaller shows. Jalin Turner is a decade younger than Potter and all his professional wins have come in the first round.

Round 1. Potter immediately goes for a takedown but Turner takes top position. Potter attacks the leg and Turner elects to return to the feet. Turner hurts Potter with a series of punches. Potter goes down and out in a hurry.

Winner: Jalin Turner, KO, round 1.

Callan Potter has trouble getting to his stool after the knockout and he’s in a bad state. Jalin Turner has demonstrated tremendous power throughout his MMA career and he showcased it again there.

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Wuliji Buren vs. Jonathan Martinez live round-by-round coverage

Wuliji Buren is part of the UFC’s initiative to build interest in the sport of MMA in mainland China. He is looking for his first UFC victory after dropping his first two fights. Jonathan Martinez dropped his first UFC bout as well and now travels halfway around the world from America to compete in Australia.

Round 1. The fighters come out trading low kicks. They both start going higher with their kicks and then Buren moves in and secures a takedown. Buren looks for a guillotine choke but he loses position in the process and ends up on the bottom. Martinez moves into side control and Buren looks to stand up. Buren gets up and then takes Martinez down, landing a series of punches in the process. 10-9 Martinez.

Round 2. The standup early in the second is kick heavy, just like in the first. Buren shoots for a takedown two minutes in and gets it. Buren looks to set up a rear naked choke but Martinez slips out and stands up. Martinez immediately looks to get Buren down and controls the back with one hook preventing Buren from standing up. 10-9 Martinez.

Round 3. Buren goes for a takedown earlier this round and gets it again. The problem in the first two rounds was he wasn’t able to maintain position. Buren grabs an armbar as Martinez looks to sweep and has Martinez in trouble but Martinez deftly rolls out of danger and again secures top position. Martinez opens up with a few punches and sinks in his hooks to prevent Buren from getting up. Martinez attempts to lock in a rear naked choke. Buren rolls out of that but eats some punches and again gives Martinez his back in the process. Buren rolls out and takes top position. Buren looks for a choke but doesn’t get it and Martinez regains top position. Martinez lands some big punches at the close. 10-9 Martinez, 30-27 Martinez.

Winner: Jonathan Martinez, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Jonathan Martinez’s grappling was the difference in that fight as Wuliji Buren wasn’t able to take advantage of the takedowns that he secured.

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Kelvin Gastelum is ready to apply the lessons he has learned

Kelvin Gastelum will takes on Robert Whittaker for the UFC middleweight belt.
(Hu Chengwei / Getty Images)

When Kelvin Gastelum won the UFC’s reality television series competition, “The Ultimate Fighter,” nearly six years ago as a 21-year-old, he made some sizable assumptions.

“Stack up a couple wins, beat a few contenders, get my title shot and this is a fairytale book ending,” Gastelum recalls.

Reflecting on that mindset now as he nears Saturday night’s UFC 234 pay-per-view main event versus middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in Melbourne, Australia, Huntington Beach-trained Gastelum concedes, “I was immature, young and dumb … it doesn’t quite work out that way.”

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Anderson Silva has a new perspective on life

Anderson Silva will take part in the UFC 234 co-main event on Saturday night.
(Amanda Westcott / For The Times)

If Anderson Silva’s legacy as arguably the most superb technician of mixed martial arts in history has taught anything, it’s to never assume the outcome of his fights.

Chael Sonnen believed he’d ended Silva’s extended UFC middleweight title reign until Silva contorted him in the final seconds and forced him to submit. Who could ever forget that Silva kick to Vitor Belfort’s face? Even in those stunning title losses to Chris Weidman, Silva kept everyone guessing.

So now that he heads to Melbourne, Australia, for Saturday night’s UFC 234 co-main event against New Zealand’s unbeaten elite prospect Israel Adesanya (15-0), the assumption is that Silva (34-8) is being sent there to pass his torch.

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