Strickland Stuns Adesanya To Become UFC Middleweight Champion

In an electrifying showdown in Sydney on Sunday at UFC 293, Sean Strickland, known for his divisive fighting style, launched a relentless barrage of potent punches, securing a unanimous decision victory (49-46, 49-46, 49-46) over champion Israel Adesanya.

This victory marked Strickland’s claim to the UFC middleweight title after an intense five-round battle that saw him consistently pressuring Adesanya with a series of impactful head punches in front of a sold-out crowd at the Qudos Bank Arena.

“Never in a million years did I think I would be here,” said Strickland, who inflicted New Zealander Adesanya’s third defeat from 27 fights.

“I thought I would be walking away a little broken up. I’m a little shocked that didn’t happen.

“This is the first time I’m lost for words.”

Sean Strickland, who stirred controversy with controversial remarks before the fight, including misogynistic comments, stepped in on short notice when Dricus du Plessis, Adesanya’s South African rival, became unavailable. Strickland, ranked fifth, earned his title shot by defeating Abus Magomedov and Nassourdine Imavov.

In Sydney’s first UFC event since 2017, both fighters cautiously sized each other up in the charged atmosphere. Strickland, aged 32, aimed to leverage his wrestling and close-range striking skills for a potential upset.

He made his move in the first round with a powerful right-hand punch that knocked Adesanya down. After surviving Strickland’s onslaught, Adesanya rebounded in the second round, using his trademark kicks to great effect. Adesanya seemed poised to take control in the third round, but Strickland landed a left hook as the fight went the distance.

Throughout the bout, Strickland (28-5) maintained relentless pressure and engaged in verbal exchanges with a bloodied Adesanya, a former kickboxer renowned as a top figure in mixed martial arts, securing a surprising title victory.

On the main card, towering Alexander Volkov, standing at two meters (six feet seven inches), silenced the rowdy fans by submitting Australian Tai Tuivasa in their heavyweight bout. With a five-inch height advantage, Russian Volkov confirmed his favored status by executing an Ezekiel choke in the second round, pinning Tuivasa to the ground with his right arm around Tuivasa’s neck.


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