MELBOURNE, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Rising mixed martial arts star Israel Adesanya has beaten out former middleweight world champion Anderson Silva in a wild three-round brawl at UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) 234 at Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
Upgraded to the main event after Aussie middleweight world champion Robert Whittaker was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery on a stomach hernia just hours before his scheduled title defense against American contender Kelvin Gastelum, the match started with Adesanya landing some heavy shots on the Brazilian challenger.
By round two however, Silva began to mount some more effective offence and the contest quickly turned into a wild back-and-forth battle with both fighters using a range of unorthodox techniques including high kicks and spinning attacks.
But in the end, the Nigerian-born New Zealander's ability to control the distance was enough to earn him the decision from the judges.
"The first round was like a kung fu movie," President of the UFC, Dana white, said.
"He [Anderson Silva] is a crafty veteran... he has knockout power and if it goes to the ground he is a black belt in jiu-jitsu and has submitted a lot of guys."
"Israel went in with a sold out house, a lot of pressure on him... and he did a good job."
"It was a fun fight to watch with two guys that are incredibly talented."
In one of the event's most entertaining contests, Chinese bantamweight Wuji "The Beast Master" Buren came up short against American Jonathan Martinez.
The Beijing based competitor was able to secure a number of takedowns and land some significant blows during the striking exchanges.
The relentless pace of Martinez proved too much, with the judges handing him the decision win.
In other matches, crafty U.S. lightweight Lando Vannata defeated Brazilian Marcos Rosa Mariano in the first round, locking up a kimura submission after securing top position.
Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt Rani Yahya was outgunned in a three-round slug-fest against hard-hitting American Ricky Simon.
Aussie hard-man Jim "the brute" Crute extended his unbeaten career streak to 10-0 with a first round TKO victory over American veteran Sam Alvey at light heavyweight.
American Devonte Smith also secured a round one knockout win against South Korean challenger Dong Hyun Ma.
Young New Zealand featherweight Shane Young outlasted American hitter Austin Arnett, taking the judges decision in grueling battle, while fellow Kiwi Kai Kara-France also picked up a tough decision victory against Brazil's Raulin Paiva.
At women's flyweight, fierce American competitor Montana De La Rosa took out undefeated local talent Nadia Kassem in the second round via arm lock, after dominating the fight with her superior grappling skills.
In earlier bouts, South Korean bantamweight Kyung Ho Kang scored a first round knockout over Japanese veteran Teruto Ishihara, and U.S. lightweight Jalin Turner also blasted his way past Aussie Callan Potter in round one.