UFC 293: Sean Strickland Upsets Israel Adesanya To Become New Middleweight Champion

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Sean Strickland defeated Isreal Adeanya to become the new UFC middleweight champion of the world with all judges scoring the fight in his favour at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. A first-round knock down by the American was the highlight of the fight that went the whole five rounds.

All three judges scored the fight 49-46 for the American and new middleweight world champion, Strickland. He did it with nonstop pressure and steady, upright boxing never once attempting a grapple.

Strickland was only handed the title opportunity after an injury to fellow top contender Dricus du Plessis. Adesanya, 34, was originally set to face Du Plessis after facing off with the South African following his win over Robert Whittaker in July. That fight did not come to fruition after Du Plessis was injured; forcing the UFC to consider other options.

With Adesanya having beaten fellow top contenders Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori, the opportunity was handed to Strickland, who is fifth in the middleweight rankings. Strickland came into the bout on the back of two wins, while Adesanya was making the first defence of his second title reign after emphatically beating long-term rival Alex Pereira in April.

“Am I dreaming, am I going to wake up? Somebody hit me,” said Strickland. “Never in a million years did I think I would be here. I don’t cry much but I’m trying to keep [myself] together right now. Izzy’s had how many highlight knockouts; he’s beaten the majority of my friends pretty easily. I was even doubting myself at times; but the fans in Australia motivated me,” Strickland added.

“I give so many brain cells to the MMA gods every day. I thought I’d be walking away a little bloody and broken up; I’m still shocked that didn’t happen, this is the first time I’m lost for words. But remember, this gold around my waist doesn’t mean [anything]. What matters is how you live your life, and I’m living better through you guys, for you guys, thank you.”

It is back to the drawing board for the Nigerian-born fighter Adesanya as he was on the back foot throughout the clash at UFC 293. This is his third loss bringing his record to 24-3 now while Strickland improves to 28-5.

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