Stephen Thompson Believes Anderson Silva Will Have A Hard Time Versus Israel Adesanya In The Co-Main Event Of UFC 234
Anderson Silva is a big underdog in the UFC 234 match versus Israel Adesanya. Even Anderson’s training partner, Stephen Thompson, doubts “The Spider” could defeat “The Last Stylebender”. (h/t MMAFighting.com)
“You know what? To be honest with you, I don’t think it will be [competitive],” Thompson said of Silva vs. Adesanya on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour. “I mean, from watching Anderson Silva’s last few fights, he just wasn’t the same. I think whenever he broke his leg, when he fought (Chris) Weidman, it took a lot out of him. I think he was out for a very long time, and he just doesn’t, I don’t know — I don’t know if he doesn’t have that drive or that timing like he used to have. He just felt very slow and just didn’t have that timing like he used to.”
Since his first loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 162, Anderson Silva (34-8, 1 NC MMA, 17-4 UFC) is on a cold streak, with only 1 win in his last 6 fights. In the meantime, the Brazilian was suspended twice because of prohibited substances. On the other side, Israel Adesanya (15-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) is undefeated at the moment.
Stephen Thompson spent some time practicing with Lyoto Machida and Anderson Silva when the two trained at Blackhouse MMA in California. Thompson says there is a big difference between Anderson Silva’s skills then and now.
“I spent some time with Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida when they were training at Blackhouse in California,” Thompson said. “This was before I was in the UFC. I was looking for management and my brother-in-law Carlos Machado knew the guys over there at Blackhouse, so I spent a few weeks up there training with Anderson, which was a dream come true for me.”
“Me coming from a karate and kickboxing background, Anderson Silva was like my idol, and so was Machida, especially with his karate background. And from sparring with him and seeing him then, and to see him his last few fights with (Michael) Bisping and I forgot who else it was, it’s just, there is a difference. There is a big difference.”
Stephen Thompson would like to see Anderson Silva teaching Israel Adesanya a lesson. It would put a smile to his face. Unfortunately, “Wonderboy” thinks it won’t happen.
“I think Israel’s going to go out there and school him. I mean, it would be cool — I think it would be very cool to see Anderson, him being the veteran, go out there and just finish him. That would definitely put a smile on my face, but I don’t see it happening.”
When asked about Whittaker Vs Gastelum, Stephen Thompson picked Robert Whittaker for a winner. Thompson defeated “The Reaper” at UFC 170 via TKO, but he claims the Australian has improved his skills a lot since then.
“Man, that’s going to be a great fight. I’m so looking forward to it,” Stephen Thompson said.
“Robert Whittaker is definitely a different fighter from when I fought him last. His takedown defense is ridiculous — ridiculous — and his cardio is out there. Like, the guy does not get tired. But Kelvin Gastelum is the exact same. He’s got very good hands, Gastelum does, he’s got great wrestling. But I think Robert Whittaker is going to come out with the win. He’s got a longer reach. I think his movement and striking, his combinations are put together well, better than Kelvin Gastelum’s, and if Kelvin Gastelum gets overwhelmed with the striking, he’s not going to be able to taken Whittaker down, I don’t think.
“And Whittaker is a beast, he’s huge,” Thompson added. “I remember standing in front of him facing off with him at 170. I mean, big barrel chest, big arms, big shoulders. And I saw him not too long ago, and he’s massive. He’s massive. He’s not a big, big 185er. He’s just solid, which is great. I’m taking Whittaker on this one.”
Do you agree with Thompson’s predictions? Don’t forget Silva trained with Alex Pereira, the only man who put Adesanya to sleep!