Adesanya has been booked to face the former middleweight champ in the co-headliner of Saturday’s event, which is going down in Melbourne, Australia. “The Last Stylebender” has been tapped for the pivotal fight, which is also serving as a title shot eliminator, after going 4-0 to date in the Octagon.
As the bout approaches, Adesanya is the heavy favorite to take Saturday’s contest with odds in the range of -525 to -768. Recently Thompson was a guest on “The MMA Hour” and he outlined why he believes Adesanya is going to cruise through “The Spider” (quotes via MMA Fighting):
“You know what? To be honest with you, I don’t think it will be [competitive],” Thompson said. “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.”
“I spent some time with Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida when they were training at Blackhouse in California,” Thompson added. “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.”
There have certainly been others who have argued that Silva’s abilities are considerably diminished, in comparison to the fighter who ruled the sport a decade ago. After all, the star is now 43-year’s-old, and his game has historically been reliant on reflexes and timing. But, you never know. If Adesanya gets careless, the legend could catch the rising star and secure one more shot at UFC gold.